Yuliia Paievska (also known as Taira) recorded 256 gigabytes of video on a body cam she wore for over two weeks while she and her colleagues tried to save people from the impact of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. She gave the flash drive to reporters from the Associated Press, asking them to take it with them as they fled Mariupol back in March while they were being hunted by the Russians.
From the AP:
On March 15, a police officer handed over the small data card to a team of Associated Press journalists who had been documenting atrocities in Mariupol, including a Russian airstrike on a maternity hospital. The office contacted Taira on a walkie-talkie, and she asked the journalists to take the card safely out of the city. The card was hidden inside a tampon, and the team passed through 15 Russian checkpoints before reaching Ukrainian-controlled territory.
The AP released footage from Taira’s excursions, showing her journeys into war-torn areas as she provided assistance to Ukrainian citizens and wounded Russian soldiers alike. One of the most emotional clips released shows Taira working with her company to treat an injured young child, but she turns away in anguish and says “I hate (this)” as it became apparent the boy would not survive.
The AP reports that on March 16, Taira and her driver were captured by the Russians, who forced her on television and portrayed her team as affiliated with the nationalist Azov Battalion. This plays into Russia’s continuous, false attempts to justify their invasion of Ukraine as a campaign against Neo-Nazism.
A video aired during a March 21 Russian news broadcast announced [Taira’s] capture, accusing her of trying to flee the city in disguise. Taira looks groggy and haggard as she reads a statement positioned below the camera, calling for an end to the fighting. As she talks, a voiceover derides her colleagues as Nazis, using language echoed this week by Russia as it described the fighters from Mariupol.
The broadcast was the last time she was seen.
Watch above, via Associated Press.