A frontline military medic blown up by mortar fire in Ukraine is the first female Russian soldier killed during the war, according to reports.
Valentina Galatova, a 27-year-old married mother of one who had already lost her husband in battle, was killed during the storming of Mariupol, one of the hardest-hit cities in Ukraine, the Times of London reported.
She was among many Russian losses last month, with her death only revealed by Russian media Wednesday as she was buried near the southwestern city of Voronezh, the UK paper said.
Galatova was reportedly already a widow after her husband, who was not identified, was killed during fighting last year in Donetsk, one of the long-splintered breakaway regions of Ukraine loyal to Russia.
Their eight-year-old son will be cared for by Galatova’s mother, the UK Times said.
The Russian reports named her as the first female combatant killed during more than two months of war — even as Ukraine claims that nearly 25,000 Russian troops have been killed.
The sharp imbalance was blamed on the Kremlin barring its 41,000 female military members from serving on the frontlines, the UK paper said.
In contrast, women make up 15 percent of the Ukrainian army, with many taking key combat roles, the report said. Many have been killed, the UK Times said — highlighting the case of Olga Semidyanova, a 48-year-old mother of 12 who was shot on the border with Donetsk in March.
As of Wednesday, at least 3,280 civilians had been killed and more than 3,450 injured, according to the latest tally from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The dead included more than 230 children, the agency said.
“OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration,” the update stressed.
That includes the hardest-hit areas like Mariupol “where there are allegations of numerous civilian casualties,” the human rights watchdog said.