AP releases video from paramedic Taira's body cam, who handed over footage the day before she was captured by Russians
20 May, 2022

The Associated Press released a video from the action camera of Yulia Payevska (better known as "Taira"), who was rescuing people in Mariupol and is currently in Russian captivity. She managed to pass the footage to journalists the day before the abduction.

According to the AP, during the first two weeks of the war, she shot 256 gigabytes of video. On March 15, she handed over the recordings to a police officer, who had in turn given the memory card to Associated Press journalists, the last reporters in Mariupol at the time and who were about to leave the city. The card was taken out through 15 Russian checkpoints in a tampon.

In the video, Taira helps civilians and the military, shows the consequences of Russian military strikes on Mariupol. For example, she documented how the Russian military are taken prisoner. Asked by locals if she would treat the prisoners, she said: "I can't do otherwise. They are prisoners of war."

There is also footage of Taira and paramedics helping injured children: a boy and a girl. The boy did not survive. The paramedic turns away from the dead child and cries, "I hate (this)". The girl was still being rescued at the time.

Warning: contains shocking footage

On March 16, the day after the transfer, she and the driver were abducted. One week later, it became known that Taira was alive — she appeared in a video of Russian propaganda media. In the video, the volunteer was called a "member of the Azov Battalion", although she is not a military but a civilian volunteer. Taira's whereabouts are currently unknown.

Since the beginning of the war in Donbas, Payevska has been helping the wounded as a paramedic. There, Taira formed her own evacuation team called the Angels of Taira. According to ArmyInform, as of 2019 alone, it has saved more than 500 Ukrainian servicemen.

Since 2020, Tyra is a member of the Ukrainian team "Invictus Games". She was also awarded a number of state awards (People's Hero of Ukraine, the award of the President of Ukraine "For humanitarian participation in the anti-terrorist operation").