Who is Thalita do Valle? Model who joined Ukrainian forces is killed in Russian airstrike

Thalita do Valle, a 39-year-old ex-model who had only been in Ukraine for three weeks, was killed in a Russian missile strike in Kharkiv on June 30 after being trapped down amid huge explosions.

According to family, a Brazilian bombshell who joined Ukrainian forces as an elite sniper in the struggle against Russia was murdered during a missile attack.

The Sao Paulo volunteer soldier was slain with veteran Brazilian army fighter Douglas Burigo, 40, who was on his way to rescue her from a bunker.
Thalita do Valle
Thalita do Valle, a 39-year-old ex-model who had been in Ukraine for only three weeks, died in a June 30 Russian missile strike in Kharkiv, where she was pinned down amid heavy explosions.

The former model who also attended law school had posted videos of her time in Ukraine on her YouTube channel, which documented her previous experience as a fighter against the Islamic State in Iraq.

Do Valle learned how to be a sniper with the Peshmergas in the independent Kurdistan region of Iraq. Her brother, Theo Rodrigo Viera, called her a hero because she spent her whole life helping people who were in terrible trouble.

Thalita do Valle
The former model who also attended law school had posted videos of her time in Ukraine on her YouTube channel, which documented her previous experience as a fighter against the Islamic State in Iraq.

Viera told local media that his sister died of asphyxiation after becoming trapped in a bunker in Kharkiv during severe Russian shelling.

Brother Viera said: 'There were successive attacks and the battalion was divided. 

'Thalita went to the bunker. There was already a fire [and] the bunker closed with her inside.

'Her friend returned to save her in the interval between the bombing and ended up dead. She died of asphyxiation, she wasn't hit by shrapnel.'

He revealed Thalita had been born in Ribeirao Preto, in the south of Brazil, but had lived for 30 years in the regional capital of Sao Paulo.

She had been a model and actress in her youth before studying law, then went to work with charities helping to rescue animals.

Later in life she gained a taste for combat, travelling to join Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq fighting against ISIS who trained her to be a sniper.

Theo said she travelled to Ukraine just three weeks ago before being sent to the city of Kharkiv, which is no longer under direct attack by Russia but which is still frequently shelled from across the border.

Thalita messaged virtually every day from the front, Theo said, revealing that she was working as a rescuer as well as a sharpshooter.

She was also responsible for providing cover from advancing Russian forces, he said.

Thalita do Valle
The former model died during a Russian airstrike just three weeks after arriving in war-torn Ukraine.

Theo added: 'Thalita has always been involved in humanitarian missions with the foreign legion of some country or here in Brazil.

'She was always moved by the feeling of saving animals and humans.

'My sister was always peaceful, a genuine progressive. Guns are part of a context, war, but she saved lives, she saved animals.

'She never encouraged young people to take up arms. She was a peaceful person.'

Her death hit the headlines as Ukraine's forces continue to to fight bloody battles with Russia in the east, with both sides suffering heavy losses.

The attack also killed former Brazilian Army soldier Douglas Burigo, 40, who returned to the bunker to find Thalita.
Thalita do Valle (left) and Douglas Burigo (right) were killed in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Thalita do Valle (left) and Douglas Burigo (right) were killed in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

The deaths of the two volunteer soldiers from Brazil sparked tributes online, including some featuring photos of them in happier times.

“Blessed be the Cobra Fumantes,” one tweet read, referencing the nickname of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force — the “Smoking Snakes.”

2 Brazilian volunteer soldiers have been killed in a Russian artillery strike on Ukrainian positions in the Kharkiv region.

Douglas Búrigo was on his way to try to evacuate Thalita do Valle, who was pinned down by the explosions.

Blessed be the Cobras Fumantes 🐍

πŸ‡§πŸ‡·πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ pic.twitter.com/NiufuctCgk

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) July 5, 2022
Thalita do Valle,
The former model’s brother said she had survived an earlier bombing in Kyiv.

Putin's army is slowly advancing along a small section of the frontline after capturing the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk over the last 10 days. The next goals are Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, after which he may legitimately claim to have 'liberated' the entire Donbas region.

Ukraine's forces are still outgunned, but they are making Russia pay in blood for every yard of land seized, intending to wear down Putin's armies before mounting a counter-attack to reclaim lost ground.

Such attacks are already taking place in the country's south, with Kyiv's army advancing on the city of Kherson.

Kherson, the only regional capital to fall to Putin's soldiers thus far in the invasion, is a strategically important fortress spanning the Dnipro river.

Retaking it is a tall order for Ukraine's military, which has demonstrated only limited counter-attacking capabilities thus far in the conflict.

However, if they are successful, Russian claims of 'winning' would be severely undermined, and other areas of the south will become vulnerable.

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