Captive medic shows horror of Mariupol with bodycam footage

Russia At War

(NewsNation) — One Ukrainian paramedic’s video is showing the world the bloody aftermath of the battle in Mariupol.

Now Yuliia Paievska, who goes by “Taira,” is in Russian hands, and the city itself is on the verge of falling, as Russia continues its attacks on Ukraine in a war that has now lasted months.

Taira used a bodycamera to record 256 gigabytes of footage of her team’s frantic efforts to bring people back from the brink of death.

From rushing to evacuate wounded soldiers by helicopter to racing to save the lives of a wounded brother and sister, Taira witnessed the horrors of war. In the videos, she can be seen wearing a stuffed animal on her vest, in case she had to treat a child.

The day after she got the harrowing clips to an Associated Press team, on March 16, she and her driver were captured. They’re one of the many forced disappearances in areas of Ukraine now held by Russia.

In one video clip, two children arrive gravely wounded from a checkpoint shootout, their parents both dead. By the end of the night, the little boy died, too, despite Taira begging him to “stay with me, little one.”

Camera footage shows Taira turning away from his lifeless body and crying. “I hate (this),” she says.

Another clip shows two Russian soldiers being taken roughly out of an ambulance by a Ukrainian soldier. One is in a wheelchair, while the other is on his knees, hands bound behind his back, with an obvious leg injury.

When a Ukrainian soldier cursed at them, Taira told him to calm down. In response to a woman asking if she should treat them, Taira replied she would.

Emergency personnel work on an injured person with Yuliia Paievska, known as Taira, in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 6, 2022. Using a body camera, she recorded her team’s frantic efforts to bring people back from the brink of death. (Yuliia Paievska via AP)

“They will not be as kind to us,” she said. “But I couldn’t do otherwise. They are prisoners of war.”

Taira herself is now a prisoner of the Russians, along with hundreds of local officials, journalists and other prominent Ukrainians who have been kidnapped or captured. The U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has recorded 204 cases of enforced disappearances, with five later found dead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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