Ukrainian medic shares traumatic captivity in Russia
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Yuliia Paievska told her harrowing experience of being imprisoned for months in Russian-occupied territory. In a testimony to US lawmakers, Ms Paievska revealed Russian forces’ brutality in how they treat Ukrainians. She said that troops have also been extremely cruel to captured Ukrainian prisoners.
Speaking to the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Ms Paievska said: “When my tormentors advised me to kill myself, I said: ‘No’.
“I will see what happens tomorrow.
“I wonder how far they can go in their madness and anger.
“And then, one day, when it seems there was no hope, someone looked into the deep hole and called my name.”
“Get your things and get out,” Ms Paievska said.
“This is how my journey to freedom began.”
Ms Paievska was a paramedic whose mission, she said, “is saving lives” in the southwestern city of Mariupol.
She was detained in the southwestern city of Mariupol in March when Russian forces invaded the region and detained her.
The paramedic spent the first three months in captivity between March and June.
She also described how Russian troops beat one Ukrainian soldier for three hours before tossing him “like a sock” into the basement – a common practice in Russian prisons, she said.
“Then in this torment of hell, the only things they feel before death is abuse and additional pain,” she said, adding that she personally saw several people die in captivity.
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She added: “Prisoners were forced to take off their clothes by their killers before they were murdered slowly and with slaughter.”
Since the beginning of the war, Russian forces have been using that playbook – capturing and deporting Ukrainians to Russia where they suffer torture.
Liudmyla Denisova, the former Ombudsman for Human Rights in Ukraine, said in March that 134,000 people had been taken from Mariupol and that 33,000 were forcibly deported.
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