Fact Check-Ukrainian woman photographed with head injuries has not been captured by Russians

A woman who on the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was photographed with head injuries and appeared on newspaper front pages, has not been captured in Ukraine, contrary to claims on social media.

Social media users have compared a photo of injured Ukrainian woman Olena Kurylo (seen here) with a photo of a second woman. They claim the images show the same person before and after being captured by Russian forces.

One caption reads: “A Ukrainian volkstrum girl who also pretended to be a wounded civilian has been captured,” (here).

Similar posts can be found on Facebook (here, here and here), Twitter (here, here, here and here) and on Telegram ( and, where it has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Reuters has not independently verified the identity of the woman in the second photo.

Speaking via Whatsapp and video call, 52-year-old Kurylo told Reuters that she is now in Poland, splitting her time between Katowice and Warsaw, and is recovering from injuries sustained during a Feb. 24 shelling attack on a residential building in Chuhuiv, Ukraine.

She confirmed that she has not been “captured” and has not returned to Ukraine, though hopes to do so in the future after recovering.

Kurylo, a teacher, also sent numerous photos of herself and her injuries.

Her screenwriter and blogger daughter Katerina told Reuters that her mother had travelled to Poland to undergo surgery.

Reuters has addressed misinformation about Kurylo in another fact check (here).


False. Injured Ukrainian woman Olena Kurylo has not been captured. She is recovering from her injuries in Poland.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.