Taira received the body camera in 2021 to film for a Netflix documentary series on inspirational figures being produced by Britain’s Prince Harry, who founded the Invictus Games. But when Russian forces invaded in February, she trained the lens on scenes of war.
The captive Ukrainian medic’s eyeglasses had long since been taken away, and the face of the Russian man walking past her was a blur, AP reports.
Yuliia Paievska knew only that her life was being traded for his, and that she was leaving behind 21 women in a tiny three- by six-meter (10- by 20-foot) prison cell they had shared for what felt like an eternity. Her joy and relief was tempered by the sense that she was abandoning them to an uncertain fate.
Before she was captured, Paievska, better known throughout Ukraine as Taira, had recorded more than 256 gigabytes of harrowing bodycam footage showing her team’s efforts to save the wounded in the besieged city of Mariupol. She got the footage to Associated Press journalists, the last international team in Mariupol, on a tiny data card.
The journalists fled the city on March 15 with the card embedded inside a tampon, carrying it through 15 Russian checkpoints. The next day, Taira was taken by pro-Russia forces.
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