Ida Unkovskaya was born in 1916 in a Jewish family in Poltava. The family later moved to the Crimean Peninsula. After finishing school in Bakhchysarai, she began to attend medical courses at a workers' faculty in Simferopol. Later, Ida (who had changed her first name to Lydia by that point) enrolled in the Crimean Medical Institute, from which she graduated in 1937. She was then posted to Khabarovsk Krai as the director of a maternity clinic.
Two years later, Lydia Unkovskaya began to serve as a surgical resident at a military hospital in the city of Vologda, having previously joined the Red Army. However, a year later, in 1940, Lydia was discharged from the army. She was assigned to Kursk Oblast, where she worked as a resident physician, and then as director of a local maternity clinic. Following the outbreak of the Soviet-German War in 1941, Lydia Unkovskaya was once again called up to serve. She commanded an operational-dressing platoon of a rifle division. In October 1941, Unkovskaya's medical-sanitary battalion, along with the wounded soldiers being treated there, was encircled and taken prisoner in the forests of Kaluga Oblast. The POWs were transported to Bryansk, 200 km from Kaluga. Realizing the danger she was in as a Jew, Lydia decided to escape. After fleeing from captivity, Lydia contacted the partisan movement and joined the large detachment led by Shchors. She went on to serve there as both director of hygiene and physician.
In September 1943, Bryansk was liberated by the Red Army. Lydia Unkovskaya volunteered to manage a regional hospital in Bryansk Oblast, where wounded soldiers were treated. She worked there until the end of the war. Unkovskaya was awarded the Order of the Red Star, in addition to medals.
Lydia remained in Bryansk after the end of the war. From 1946, she worked as chief physician at a regional sanitary-epidemiological station, and later in the local healthcare department.
Lydia Unkovskaya died in 2007 in Bryansk.