A Ukrainian doctor captured by Russian soldiers in Mariupol, a city in southern Ukraine occupied by Russia, has been able to secretly film her team’s work to try to rescue civilians and soldiers from both sides for two weeks.
In a risky operation, Dr. Yulia Bayevska handed over photos from the Associated Press, stored on an electronic chip inside a tampon, to the only foreign journalists who were in Mariupol during the Russian occupation. The next day, Paievska was captured by Russian soldiers.
Bayevska’s daughter, Anna-Sofia Buzanova, unaware of her whereabouts for more than four weeks, appealed to the Russian government this week to release her mother and report where she is being held.
Moscow says the doctor was linked to the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian army group that accuses Russia of being neo-Nazi. Ukraine denies this and notes that the doctor is one of hundreds of people unconnected to the military who have been detained by Russian forces in absentia.
The UN mission in Ukraine identified at least 204 cases of arbitrary arrests by the Russian military and disappearances of Ukrainians suspected of torture, not to mention the cases in Mariupol, where the UN commission was unable to enter.
Associated Press employees who were in Mariupol said they heard reports from people close to Bayevska denying any association with the Azov Battalion.
The pictures taken by the doctor show the efforts of her team to rescue civilians who were injured by Russian bombing in the city, which was the most attacked by Russia since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, on February 24. The recordings also reveal that the doctors treated a number of Ukrainian soldiers like the Russians.
Moscow has not yet commented on the arrest of Yulia Bayevska.
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