Ukrainian woman who became bloodied face of war: 'I never thought this would happen in my lifetime.'

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KHARKIV, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 24: (EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts graphic content) A wounded woman is seen as airstrike damages an apartment complex outside of Kharkiv, Ukraine on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Olena Kurilo, whose bloodied image has become the face of the war in Ukraine, has spoken of her ordeal. (Getty)

A woman whose image has become one of the faces of the war in Ukraine has spoken of her ordeal, saying she is "lucky to be alive".

The picture of teacher Olena Kurilo with her head bandaged and face covered in blood has become synonymous with the horror of the crisis following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The 52-year-old survived a shelling by Russian forces in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, but her home was completely destroyed.

Kurilo, whose image has appeared on a number of newspaper front pages, told Sky News she was "very lucky" to have survived.

Olena Kurilo's image became on the faces of the conflict when Russian began its military advance in the Ukraine. (Getty)
Olena Kurilo's image became on the faces of the conflict when Russian began its military advance in the Ukraine. (Getty)
TOPSHOT - The body of a rocket stuck in a flat after recent shelling on the northern outskirts of Kharkiv on February 24, 2022. - Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, forcing residents to flee for their lives and leaving at least 40 Ukrainian soldiers and 10 civilians dead. Russian air strikes hit military facilities across the country and ground forces moved in from the north, south and east, triggering condemnation from Western leaders and warnings of massive sanctions. (Photo by Sergey BOBOK / AFP) (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)
Homes were left destroyed in Kharkiv after shelling started on Thursday, forcing residents to flee for their lives. (Getty)

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Speaking outside her destroyed home after returning from hospital, she attributed her survival to a "guardian angel".

She told the news channel she "never thought that this would truly happen in my lifetime".

The teacher added: "I will do everything for Ukraine, as much as I can, with as much energy as I have.

"I will always only be on my motherland's side."

Watch: Russia has failed to take any of its major objectives, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says

Kurilo's image was among dramatic images and video footage to emerge from Ukraine on the first day following Russia's invasion.

The moment a TV reporter ran for his life as shells began falling on the area of Ukraine where he was reporting was also captured on film.

Sky News' Alex Rossi was filming in the city of Mariupol as the crisis unfolded, talking to residents and soldiers of an area that has come under fire in recent weeks.

Dramatic footage showed Sky News presenter Alex Rossi fleeing as shells dropped while he reported from Ukraine. (Sky News)
Dramatic footage showed Sky News presenter Alex Rossi fleeing as shells dropped while he reported from Ukraine. (Sky News)

While recording a piece for the camera, Rossi was forced to run for cover as more shells suddenly began descending on the area.

After finding shelter, Rossi said: "It just shows how quickly things can change here.

"We were outside filming, really calm... but we've just had to take cover because there's been incoming mortar fire."