• Yuliia Paievska, better known as Taira, recorded 256 GB of footage in Mariupol
  • Her team treated Ukrainian civilians and Russian soldiers in the war-ravaged city
  • The data card with footage from her body camera was passed on to journalists

A Ukrainian medic who captured video footage of the horrors in war-ravaged Mariupol is now in the hands of Russians.

Yuliia Paievska, 53, who goes by the name Taira, used a body camera to record 256 gigabytes of her team desperately trying to save lives. The footage was recorded over two weeks and showed the team giving medical attention to Ukrainian civilians as well as Russian soldiers at a military hospital in Mariupol.

Taira managed to pass on the data card, no bigger than a thumbnail, to a team of Associated Press journalists in March, the outlet reported Thursday. One of the journalists smuggled the data card out by hiding it inside a tampon.

A video that Taira recorded on March 10 captured a Ukrainian soldier taking two Russian soldiers out of an ambulance. One was in a wheelchair, and the other had a leg injury and was on his knees with his hands bound behind. Both had their eyes covered.

“Calm down, calm down,” Taira said as a Ukrainian soldier cursed at one of the soldiers.

“Are you going to treat the Russians?” a woman asked.

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

In another instance, Taira tended to a brother and sister who lost their parents and suffered serious wounds in a shootout.

“Stay with me, little one,” Taira told the boy.

The medic cried when the boy passed away by the end of the night.

“I hate (this),” she said before closing his eyes.

“The boy is gone,” she later told someone in the footage. “The boy has died. They are still giving CPR to the girl. Maybe she will survive.”

A day after a police officer handed the footage over to the journalists, Taira and her driver were reportedly captured by Russian soldiers on March 16.

Russian news broadcast announced her capture on March 21 and accused her of trying to flee the Ukrainian city in disguise. The Russian narrative says Taira works for the nationalist Azov Battalion, but her friends and colleagues have denied such links.

Taira’s husband, Vadim Puzanov, spoke about how she — a celebrated medic in the Ukraine who has helped train the country’s volunteer medic force — is being portrayed by Russia.

“Accusing a volunteer medic of all mortal sins, including organ trafficking, is already outrageous propaganda — I don’t even know who it’s for,” said Puzanov, who hasn’t received much news about his wife since she disappeared.

Taira’s capture put her on a list with hundreds of local officials, journalists and other Ukrainians kidnapped or captured by Russian forces, the New York Post reported.

Ukraine’s government said it tried to add Taira’s name to a prisoner exchange weeks back, but Russia denied holding her even after she appeared handcuffed and bruised on Russian television.

Taira was a member of the Ukraine Invictus Games for military veterans. An Invictus Games webpage is pleading for her release and shows a counter for the number of days of her captivity.

A local resident sits in a courtyard outside a building heavily damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 15, 2022.
A local resident sits in a courtyard outside a building heavily damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 15, 2022. Reuters / ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO