December 3, 2022

A celebrated Ukrainian medic recorded her time in Mariupol on a knowledge card no larger than a thumbnail, smuggled out to the arena in a tampon. Now, she is in Russian palms, and Mariupol itself is at the verge of falling.

Yuliia Paievska, who as a medic went by way of Taira, used a frame digicam to document 256 gigabytes of pictures on her crew’s frantic efforts over two weeks to deliver other folks again from the threshold of loss of life. She were given the harrowing clips to an Related Press crew, the ultimate world newshounds within the Ukrainian town of Mariupol, as they left in a unprecedented humanitarian convoy.

Ukraine War Medic in Mariupol
Yuliia Paievska, referred to as Taira, seems to be within the replicate and turns off her digicam in Mariupol, Ukraine on Feb. 27, 2022. 

Yuliia Paievska / AP


Russian infantrymen captured Taira and her motive force tomorrow, March 16, one of the most many compelled disappearances in spaces of Ukraine now held by way of Russia. Russia has portrayed Taira as operating for the nationalist Azov Battalion, in keeping with Moscow’s narrative that it is making an attempt to “denazify” Ukraine. However the AP discovered no such proof, and pals and co-workers stated she had no hyperlinks to Azov.

The army health center the place she led evacuations of the wounded isn’t affiliated with Azov. And the video she recorded presentations Taira seeking to save wounded Russian infantrymen together with Ukrainian civilians.

A March 10 clip presentations two Russian infantrymen are taken kind of out of an ambulance by way of a Ukrainian soldier. One is in a wheelchair. The opposite is on his knees, palms sure at the back of his again, with an obtrusive leg harm.

Ukraine War Medic in Mariupol
Two injured Russian infantrymen, left and proper, arrive at a health center to be handled on March 10, 2022, in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Yuliia Paievska by the use of AP


A Ukrainian soldier curses at one among them. “Chill out, loosen up,” Taira tells him.

A lady asks her, “Are you going to regard the Russians?”

“They’re going to now not be as type to us,” she replies. “However I could not do in a different way. They’re prisoners of warfare.”

Taira, 53, is now a prisoner of the Russians, like loads of native officers, newshounds and different outstanding Ukrainians who’ve been abducted or captured. The U.N. Human Rights Tracking Venture in Ukraine has recorded 204 instances of enforced disappearances, pronouncing that some sufferers could have been tortured and 5 had been later discovered useless.

The Russians have centered medics and hospitals even supposing the Geneva Conventions unmarried out army and civilian medics for defense “in all circumstance.” Russian infantrymen accused a lady in a convoy from Mariupol on Might 8 of being an army medic and compelled her to choose from letting her 4-year-old daughter accompany her to an unknown destiny or proceeding directly to Ukrainian-controlled territory. The mum and kid ended up separated.

Taira’s scenario and what it finds concerning the Russia’s remedy of Ukrainian prisoners tackle new importance as Mariupol’s ultimate defenders are dropped at Russian-held spaces. Russia says greater than 1,700 Ukrainian warring parties holed up at a metal mill surrendered this week, whilst Ukrainian officers stated the warring parties got here out after carrying out their venture.

Ukraine’s govt says it attempted so as to add Taira’s title to a prisoner change weeks in the past. However Russia denies retaining her, regardless of her look on tv networks within the separatist Donetsk area of Ukraine and at the Russian NTV community, handcuffed and along with her face bruised.

Taira is understood in Ukraine as a celebrity athlete as neatly the one who educated the rustic’s volunteer medic drive. The video she took from Feb. 6 to March 10 supplies an intimate document of a town below siege that has since turn into a global image of the Russian invasion and Ukrainian resistance.

On Feb. 24, the primary day of the warfare, Taira chronicled efforts to bandage a Ukrainian soldier’s open head wound.

Two days later, she ordered colleagues to wrap a wounded Russian soldier in a blanket. She calls the younger guy “Sunshine” — a favourite nickname for the various infantrymen who handed thru her palms — and asks why he got here to Ukraine.

“You might be taking good care of me,” he tells her, virtually in marvel. Her reaction: “We deal with everybody similarly.”

Ukraine War Medic in Mariupol
Yuliia Paievska, referred to as Taira, watches as emergency workforce attempt to save the lifetime of a person on March 2, 2022, in Mariupol, Ukraine. 

Yuliia Paievska / AP


Later that night time, two youngsters — a brother and sister -—arrive gravely wounded from a checkpoint shootout. Their folks are useless. By way of the top of the night time, regardless of Taira’s entreaties to “stick with me, infant,” so is the little boy.

Taira turns clear of his dead frame and cries. “I hate (this),” she says.

All through the video, she complains about power ache from again and hip accidents. She cracks jokes. And at all times, she wears a crammed animal connected to her vest at hand to any youngsters she would possibly deal with.

On March 15, a police officer passed the small information card to a crew of Related Press newshounds. Taira requested the newshounds over a walkie-talkie to get the cardboard safely out of Mariupol. The cardboard used to be hidden within a tampon because the newshounds handed thru 15 Russian checkpoints.

The following day, Taira disappeared along with her motive force Serhiy.

A video aired on a March 21 Russian information broadcast introduced her seize. In it, she seems to be groggy and haggard as she reads a remark calling for an finish to the combating. As she speaks, a voiceover derides her colleagues as Nazis.

With a husband and teen daughter, Taira knew what warfare can do to a circle of relatives. At one level, an injured Ukrainian soldier requested her to name his mom, and he or she informed him he would be capable of name himself, “so are not making her fearful.”

Taira’s husband, Vadim Puzanov, stated he has won little information since his spouse’s disappearance.

“Accusing a volunteer medic of all mortal sins, together with organ trafficking, is already outrageous propaganda – I do not even know who it is for,” he stated.

Taira used to be a part of the Invictus Video games for Ukraine. She won the frame digicam ultimate 12 months to movie for a Netflix documentary sequence on inspirational figures being produced by way of Britain’s Prince Harry, who based the Invictus Video games.

As a substitute, she filmed warfare pictures. Within the ultimate video Taira shot, she is seated subsequent to the motive force who would disappear along with her. It’s March 9.

“Two weeks of warfare. Besieged Mariupol,” she says quietly. Then she curses at no person particularly, and the display is going darkish.

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