Home » Playboy cover model was shot in the head by Putin’s troops: “My face is full of pictures and screws”

Playboy cover model was shot in the head by Putin’s troops: “My face is full of pictures and screws”

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Iryna, a model and TV presenter, had left Kiev for western Ukraine with her three children at the end of February 2022, shortly before the Russian invasion. You felt the tension in the Ukrainian capital then. A few days earlier there was still partying, now the streets were empty and you only saw police officers and soldiers. So she played it safe and left.

On the way she saw the planes and bombs literally flying over her car and she was especially afraid for her children. Her son David was ten at the time, Dan was five, and Dorian had just turned one.

Shots were fired from all sides and explosions were heard.

But by the time Iryna realized that her car was also targeted by Russian attackers, it was already too late. Within a split second, a bullet hit her in the head.

She managed to stop the car and said goodbye to her children. “I felt that I was going to die, I felt life pouring out of my body, as it were.”

Iryna woke up in a hospital bed a few days later.

The first thing she wanted to know was if her children were safe. Fortunately that was the case. They had been taken by passers-by who had first taken care of her and other injured people. Afterwards they took her children and cared for them at home.

Iryna Bilotserkovets with son Dorian, a few months before the tragedy — © X

“I remember the head doctor standing at my bedside and telling me what had happened to me, that my children were alive, that they were doing well. Then he said I was very lucky. They operated on me for ten hours to remove a bullet from my head. Luckily my brain was not hit. But facial reconstruction was needed. And, he gently told me, despite all efforts they had not been able to save my left eye,” she told ITV exclusively.

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Specialized clinic

“I was a model and presenter. My career was over, I thought. Fortunately, I was able to quickly turn the switch. My kids were fine, that’s what mattered. The rest were worries for later.”

For the next five days, she was pumped full of strong painkillers and kept on a ventilator. Because she still had to undergo several operations on her head. And the hospital in Ukraine was not specialized in that. Fortunately, with the help of her family, she was transferred to a hospital in Dusseldorf, Germany.

“A total of twenty doctors took care of me there. Plastic surgeons especially. I lay on the operating table for hours. My face is full of pictures and screws. They have even restored nerves. Although there is also permanent damage. My left eye is gone. I also couldn’t chew on the left side for a long time.”

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“But I am satisfied. Especially when I see myself today compared to how I was when I first looked in the mirror after the shooting. My head was swollen and blue, full of scars. And my hair was cut off. I was like Frankenstein’s monster.”

Go to the front myself

It took seven long weeks before she was finally reunited with her children. “The doctors wanted to avoid the children seeing me like this. That would have been too traumatic for them.”

“I also remember the moment well. The youngest didn’t even recognize me anymore. It was very emotional, with many tears. But they have been so brave,” she says.

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Iryna gave an exclusive interview to ITV to mark the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and posed for the cover of the Ukrainian version of Playboy. In a kind of metal bikini and with an eye patch in the shape of a heart. She also started distributing the magazine herself to Ukrainian soldiers at the front. To show them her support and thank them for what they do for the country. But also to say a big ‘fuck you’ to Russian President Putin.

Iryna’s boys stayed with her mother and sister in the town of Truskavets, west of Ukraine.

The mother recalled the emotional moment she hugged her sons.

She said: “It was such a moving moment, but the hardest part was my youngest son Dorian.

“He just didn’t recognize me because it was stressful for him and he subconsciously started calling my mother ‘Mom’ and he was very fond of her at that time.”

The toddler experienced immense stress and trauma after witnessing the horrific ideal – and it would take a while before he felt comfortable with his mother again.

Iryna said: “He saw me and ran away. It was of course a shock for me.

“I cried. After that, everything got better step by step, but from that moment on my mother was with us.”

After the trauma she endured two years ago, and the threats she still faces today, Iryna said she now has no strength to continue.

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