This 22-year-old used to carry a bookbag on her shoulder – now she has a missile launcher.

The Ukrainian has shot down two Russian jets and a helicopter in the week since she left university to join the war effort.

Sources say the woman has become an expert at firing the Igla surface-to-air missile launcher – which ironically is Russian-made.

Her identity is being kept secret amid fears Russian agents will try to assassinate her.

At least 30 Russian aircraft are believed to have been destroyed in the war so far.

Defence sources have said that one of the aircraft destroyed is believed to have been an SU-25, combat aircraft.

A source said: “The Ukrainians have had a lot of success with surface-to-air missiles.

“The young student who has shot down three aircraft is one of the reasons why Russia does not control the air.”

Meanwhile Russia yesterday vowed to target high-precision defensive weapons being sent to Ukraine from Britain, claiming they only worsened bloodshed.

Andrey Kelin, Putin’s UK ambassador, issued the warning after reports that a Russian helicopter had been shot down by a portable high-velocity anti-air missile called Starstreak, supplied by the UK.