2022 – Ukraine welcomes the release of a doctor who filmed the atrocities of the Mariupol siege | Ukraine

Ukraine welcomed the weekend release of a famous medic whose footage from the besieged city of Mariupol was smuggled by a team of journalists at a stopper in mid-March.

“I always believed that everything would be just like this, and everyone who is now on the other side knows that everything will work out,” Yulia Bayevska said on Saturday in a video speech addressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to thank her for her release.

Paievska, 53, is known in Ukraine as Taira, a nickname she took from the video game World of Warcraft.

Using a body camera, Paievska recorded more than 200 gigabytes of her team’s dramatic efforts over a two-week period to rescue wounded civilians and Russian and Ukrainian soldiers. The footage was handed over to the Associated Press, the last international journalist in Mariupol, on March 15, and someone hid it in a tampon.

Bayevska was arrested by Russian soldiers the next day and he spent more than three months in captivity.

During his Friday night patriotic address, Zelensky first announced Bayevska’s release.

“I am grateful to everyone who worked towards this outcome. Taira is already at home. We will continue to work towards liberating everyone.”

Paievska’s release was hailed across Ukraine due to her longstanding reputation as a skilled paramedic who trained volunteer paramedics in the country.

She formed a group of doctors called Tairas Engel and acted as a link between the military and civilians in the confrontation cities. The body camera she used to document her time in Mariupol was originally intended for a Netflix documentary about Inspiring People produced by Prince Harry.

Russia tried to portray Bayevska as a far-right nationalist working for the Azov Regiment, which commanded the defenses of the plant. Some pro-Kremlin media claimed, without providing any evidence, that Bayevska was involved in the killing of civilians in Mariupol.

The Azov Regiment was formed in 2014 as a volunteer militia to fight against Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine, and many of its original members held far-right views. The unit has since been integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard and the regiment now denies being fascist, racist or neo-Nazi. The Azov movement was used as a key element in the Russian propaganda narrative to justify the war in Ukraine.

However, the military hospital in which Bayevska treated the wounded does not belong to the Azov battalion, and the footage it took proves that it was trying to rescue wounded Russian soldiers and Ukrainian civilians.

In a clip captured on March 10 and quoted by the Associated Press, another woman asked Bayevska if she would treat two seriously wounded Russian soldiers.

She replied, “They will not be kind to us.” “But I couldn’t help her. They are prisoners of war.”

It was not immediately clear if Bayevska’s release was part of a prisoner exchange with Russia.

In a rare public criticism by a Russian journalist in state media, Channel One war correspondent Irina Koksenkova said it was an “opaque plot” involving the son of a Chechen official she said had previously been kidnapped by Ukraine.

“There was no trade. There was an evil plan that brought Tyra to Ukraine,” Koksenkova wrote on her Telegram channel.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine has commented on the details of Bayevska’s release.

Meanwhile, the fate of hundreds of captured militants defending the Azovstal steel plant remains uncertain after they were transferred to prisons in Russian-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine a month ago.

The Russian state news agency TASS, citing an unnamed Russian law enforcement source, said that a number of commanders of the Azov Regiment were taken to the Lefortovo prison in Moscow for interrogation.

“Other officers from various Ukrainian units have been transferred to Russia,” TASS quoted the source as saying.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian intelligence said there were contacts with militants captured at the Azovstal plant and that Kyiv was doing everything it could to ensure their return.

There are fears that Moscow could label the Azov fighters as terrorists – raising the possibility of a mass trial aimed at justifying the Russian invasion.

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