An orphan girl became a teenage sniper in the bloody conflict in eastern Ukraine - before winning a beauty contest.
Olga Shishkina, 21, volunteered to fight for pro-Putin forces and says she had to fight for acceptance after initially being suspected as a Ukrainian spy.
But she became one of the rebels' deadliest killers, once picking off a target from almost 4,000ft away.
Olga Shishkina, 21, was just 17 and living in an orphanage when fighting broke out between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists near where she lived
At age 18 Olga left the orphanage and volunteered to fight for the rebels, but was initially suspected of being a pro-Kiev spy and was dismissed as 'just a girl'
Talking for the first time about being a markswoman on the front line the the civil war that scarred eastern Europe, she said: 'I didn't kill people, it is not correct to word it this way.
'For us, snipers, they are not people. They are targets.
'I shoot living targets and quite often, these are enemies. I don't think about those who I shoot.
'I don't think that they might have children, a mother, family. This is war. This way it is easier for me to live.'
Shishknina said: 'I am not ashamed of myself and I don't feel sorry for them. I didn't kill civilians.'
She was fighting for the so-called People's Republic of Donetsk, a breakaway region of Ukraine supported by Putin.
However, she fast became one of the rebels' deadliest sharpshooters, once killing a target from almost 4,000ft (1,200m)
Speaking about her time in battle, Olga said she didn't think of herself as killing people, only 'targets' and said she didn't feel sorry for them
After leaving the military Olga decided to take part in a beauty contest and was awarded the Lady Transformation prize, for her drastic change of image
Two years ago she transferred to a unit in Donetsk city as 'continued fighting', reported Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP).
More recently she entered a beauty contest - called 'Lady of the Republic'.
'I passed the castings,' she said. 'I became more confident, met many people and realised that there is life apart from army.'
She won the title Lady Transformation - for her switch from sniper to beauty queen, winning an expensive laptop as her prize.
She has used it to help start a new venture as a cafe owner in Donetsk, and has - for now - put away her sniper's rifle.
She also plans to wed in the near future.
Reflecting on her extraordinary life, she said she was one of 14 children her mother gave birth to - all of them given up to an orphanage.
Her father later collected her but died when she was five, so she went back into state care.
With her orphanage in a target zone as fighting broke out in 2014, she decided to volunteer but at 17 she was dismissed as too young 'and a girl'.
Then her city was taken by Ukrainian forces.
Olga was detained for a month after trying to join the rebels, before being given rudimentary training and deployed on the front lines as a sniper
She has now retired from the military to open a cafe in Donetsk and is planning to marry someone that she met on the battlefield
'Those who were against Kiev regime were detained,' she said. 'There was a wave of repressions and I realised I couldn't live like that.
'As soon as I turned 18, I took my passport from the orphanage's director, packed some basic clothes and secretly went to Horlivka' - a city under rebel control.
'Local commanders were suspicious of the girl who came from the city occupied by Ukraine, and Olga was detained,' reported KP.
'They thought I was a saboteur,' she said. 'I was kept under surveillance for a month.
'It was all civilised and now I understand that their actions were justified.'
Later she was given rudimentary training and thrust into the frontline as a sniper.
She is planning to marry a man with whom she served on the frontline but meanwhile has found an investor for her cafe and is renovating the building.
'I tried to get married before,' she said. 'I was proposed to three times and in each case preparations were full-on but we broke up.
'But this time my boyfriend knows what I am like and I think there is nothing that can tear us apart.'