Paramedics kidnapped en route to help victims of Mariupol bombing

Russia kidnapped paramedics who rushed to rescue survivors of the Mariupol Theater bombing, the teenage daughter of a missing volunteer has revealed.

Ulia Paevska was kidnapped by Russian troops while traveling to the site of the bombing, where some 1,300 women and children were taking refuge in the besieged city.

Anna-Sofia Puzanova said her mother stopped to treat a wounded civilian on March 16 as she tried to escape Moscow’s brutal bombardment through a humanitarian corridor when she was captured.

“She was captured with her driver Serhiy, also a volunteer, driving an ambulance in a humanitarian corridor,” the 19-year-old said during a visit to Brussels.

Aside from appearing in Kremlin propaganda videos, Ms Puzanova has not seen or heard from her mother since her abduction, without knowing where she is being held or if she is safe.

They last spoke days before her kidnapping, when Ms Paevska told her daughter about her work rescuing civilians as they tried to escape the constant bombardment by Russian forces.

“I know that the Russian occupiers will torture her,” Ms. Puzanova said, struggling to find the words to describe her worries.

“Russian propaganda talks about a really dangerous woman, a killer, really violent, but that’s not true,” she added. “She fought for my future and that of Ukraine.”

Ms Puzanova believes her mother is among thousands of Ukrainians sent to concentration camps in pro-Russian breakaway regions of the country.

Ms Paevska, whose nickname is Taira, is on a list of prisoners of war that the Ukrainian government is willing to exchange for captured Russians, but Moscow has repeatedly rejected requests for her exchange.

As the founder of the volunteer ambulance corps Taira’s Angels, she is seen as the prize scalper for the Kremlin.

Since its inception in 2014, when Russia illegally annexed Crimea, the organization is credited with saving over 5,000 lives and training more than 1,000 medical volunteers.

For her work, Ms. Paevska was named a Hero of Ukraine, the highest national title bestowed on a civilian. “She not only saved the lives of our soldiers, our civilians,” said Ms. Puzanova. “She also fought for my future and for Ukraine.”

The 19-year-old has made it her mission to fight not only for her mother’s release, but also for the release of 500 Ukrainian women who were captured by Russian troops.

“It’s my job now, it’s my duty,” she said. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2022)

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] Paramedics kidnapped en route to help victims of Mariupol bombing

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