WASHINGTON (Associated Press) – Russian forces have held a Ukrainian medical volunteer for three months in the besieged port city of Mariupol in Ukraine. He told US lawmakers on Thursday that they are cuddling and comforting fellow prisoners who died from torture and inappropriately treating wounds.
Ukrainian Yulia Bayevska, who was captured by pro-Russian forces in Mariupol in March and held in shifting locations in Russia’s allied territory in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, spoke to lawmakers on the Committee for Security and Cooperation in Europe, better known as the Helsinki Committee. , a government agency created in part to promote international compliance with human rights.
Her accounts on Thursday were the most publicly detailed of her treatment in captivity, in what Ukrainians and international rights groups described as large-scale arrests of both non-combatants and combatants by Russian forces.
Known to Ukrainians as Tyra, Bayevska, she cared for the wounded in Mariupol during the nearly seven-month Russian invasion of Ukraine. She received worldwide attention after bodycam footage was submitted to the Associated Press.
“Do you know why we’re doing this to you?” Asked Rossi Baevska as he tortured her, she told the committee. She told the committee in response to him: “Because you can.”
Incendiary descriptions of the suffering of the detainees flowed. She said a 7-year-old boy died in her lap because she didn’t have any of the medical equipment she needed to treat him.
She added that the torture sessions usually start with their kidnappers forcing the Ukrainian prisoners to remove their clothes, before the Russians begin to shed blood and torture the detainees.
The result, she said, was “some prisoners in the cells screaming for weeks and then dying from torture without any medical help.” “Then in this torment of hell, the only thing they feel before death is abuse and extra beating.”
She continued her talk about the loss of life among Ukrainian prisoners. My friend who closed his eyes before his body cooled. another friend. And another. else.”
Bayevska said she was detained after she was stopped at a routine document check. She was one of thousands of Ukrainians believed to have been captured by Russian forces. The mayor of Mariupol said 10,000 people from his city alone disappeared during what was the most famous Russian siege of that city. Falling into the hands of the Russians in April, the city was completely destroyed by Russian bombing, and countless people were killed.
The Geneva Conventions provide protection for medical personnel, both military and civilian, “in all circumstances”. Senator Ben Cardin, D-Maryland and co-chair of the Helsinki Committee, emphasized that the conditions it described for civilian and military detainees violated international law.
Rep. Joe Wilson, Republika Srpska, has described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal.
“It is critical for the world to hear the stories of those who have experienced the worst of captivity,” Wilson said. “Evidence is necessary to prosecute war crimes.”
Before she was caught, Paievska recorded over 256GB of horrific Bodycam footage Her team’s efforts are shown to rescue the wounded in the isolated city. I got the footage of Associated Press reporters, the last international team in Mariupol, on a small data card.
The journalists fled the city on March 15 with their card tucked into a tampon, and were carrying it through 15 Russian checkpoints. The next day, Paievska was captured by pro-Russian forces. Lawmakers played the Associated Press’s video on Thursday.
She appeared on June 17th, slim and exhausted, her athletic body more than 10 kilograms (22 pounds) lighter due to lack of nutrition and activity. She said an AP report showing her interest in both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers, along with civilians in Mariupol, was crucial to her release, in a prisoner exchange.
Bayevska previously refused to talk in detail to journalists about the conditions of detention, widely calling them hell. She swallowed hard at the Thursday Times while testifying.
The Ukrainian government says it has documented nearly 34,000 Russian war crimes since the war began in February. The International Criminal Court and 14 member states of the European Union have also launched investigations.
The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said it has documented that prisoners of war held in Russia have suffered torture and ill-treatment, as well as inadequate food, water, health care and sanitation.
Russia did not respond to these allegations. Both the United Nations and the International Red Cross say they have been denied access to the prisoners.
Bayevska, who said she suffered a headache while in detention as a result of a concussion from a previous blast, told lawmakers that she had asked her captors to let her call her husband, to let him know what had happened to her.
They said: I’ve seen a lot of American films. She said, “There will be no phone call.”
She said that while in detention, her torturers sometimes urged her to commit suicide.
“I said no. I’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Laurie Hennant contributed to this report from Paris.
Follow the Associated Press’ coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian war at: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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