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Ukrainian medic who filmed Mariupol siege thanks President Zelenskyy for release

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Celebrated Ukrainian paramedic who was freed from Russian captivity earlier in the week Yuliia Paievska has thanked the Ukrainian president for her release.

“I know that everything will work out and we will all be home as I am now,” Paievska said addressing Ukrainians still held by Moscow forces.

The video posted on social media came after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that Paievska, also known as Taira -- a nickname she chose for herself in the World of Warcraft game -- was home.

"Today I can finally announce this. We managed to liberate Taira, the Ukrainian paramedic Yuliia Paievska, from captivity," Zelenskyy said.

"I am grateful to everyone who worked towards this result. Taira is home. We will keep working to liberate everyone."

“It was such a great sense of relief. Those sound like such ordinary words, and I don't even know what to say,” her husband, Vadim Puzanov, said on Friday.

Puzanov said that the two spoke on the phone as she was headed to a Kyiv hospital and that he was concerned for her health.

Taira became famous after using a body camera to record her work in Mariupol while the port city was under Russian siege.

She received the camera in 2021 as she was preparing to participate in Ukraine's Invictus Games for military veterans, but ended up using it to record the horrific events in Mariupol, including her efforts to save the wounded on both sides.

A clip recorded on 10 March shows two Russian soldiers -- one in a wheelchair, and the other with an obvious leg injury -- taken roughly out of an ambulance by a Ukrainian soldier.

A Ukrainian soldier cursed at one of them. “Calm down, calm down,” Taira tells him.

A woman asked her, “Are you going to treat the Russians?”

“They will not be as kind to us,” she replied. “But I couldn’t do otherwise. They are prisoners of war.”

Paievska passed on the clips to an Associated Press team on 15 March -- the day before she was captured by Russian troops and the same day when Russian troops bombed the city's theatre, killing an estimated 600 people.

Hundreds of prominent Ukrainians have been kidnapped or captured, including local officials, journalists, activists and human rights defenders.

On Saturday, five captured Ukrainians were returned to Kyiv in exchange for five captured Russians, according to the Ukrainian defence ministry.

Watch Euronews' full report in the player above.

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