Defiant Ukrainian woman who brought down drone with jar of tomatoes vows to fight on

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The woman, known as Elena, is a citizen of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv who decided to stay in her home as Vladimir Putin’s forces ramped up their attacks across the country. While around two million Ukrainians have reportedly fled the country since the Russian invasion over a week ago, Elena was one of the many who have chosen to stay.

Many other brave Ukrainians have opted to stay behind, either to help their country’s armed forces fight back against Russian troops or to help others who cannot leave by providing aid and medical support.

Elena told the Ukrainian news site Liga.net.ua that she was sitting on the balcony of her flat in Kyiv when a suspicious drone suddenly appeared.

She said she was concerned it would fire at her and so quickly grabbed a jar of pickled tomatoes from under her chair and threw it at the device to bring it down.

Her good aim knocked it out of the air and it smashed on the floor.

Elena and her husband said that they trampled the drone and distributed parts into different bins in case the device could be tracked.

She told the news site that she suspects the drone could have been operated by looters looking for empty flats to break into and steal from after so many dwellings were abandoned after Ukrainians fled the capital.

The Russian military is also known to have built up an arsenal of reconnaissance drones which can be used to stake out enemy territory before an attack, although reports of these being used during the current conflict have been limited.

Elena’s story was first shared by Liubov Tsybulska, an advisor to the Ukrainian government, who tweeted about the incident.

At first it was thought Elena’s chosen weapon was a jar of cucumbers.

Ms Tsybulska said: “In Kyiv a woman knocked down a Russian drone from a balcony with a jar of cucumbers. How did they expect to occupy this country?”

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She later confirmed the object used to bring down the drone was in fact a jar of pickled tomatoes after Liga Net tracked Elena down.

The news outlet confirmed that Elena lived in Dniprovskyi, an urban district in the city of Kyiv, and works at a small shop in the neighbourhood that sells household supplies.

She said she decidedly “instantly” that she would not leave her home city after Russian invaded the country, pledging instead to stay and help the fight.

She said she would keep fighting and “do all that is necessary” to stop Russia.

Convoys of civilians are due to leave a number of towns near the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday, regional leader Oleksiy Kuleba confirmed, as Russian forces continued to bombard areas near the city.

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Ukraine said it has agreed a 12-hour ceasefire with Russia for six routes out of the warzone, the BBC reported, with the first groups having already left the city.

Russian shelling has continued to escalate near the capital on Wednesday with further reports of civilian deaths as Russia stepped up attacks this week.

Ten people reportedly died in Severodonetsk to the east of Kyiv and five people were killed in nearby Malyn.

An air raid on Sumy in the north east of Ukraine on Monday night also reportedly flattened six houses and killed 22 people, including three children.



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