Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov reacted violently to the presentation of the International Women of Courage Award to Ukrainian Yulia Paevskaya. Commenting on the award, Antonov said :
"It's a shame. It does not fit in my head that Nazis can be honored within the walls of the White House. For those who don't know, Paevska, codenamed Taira, is a Ukrainian terrorist thug whose hands are stained with the blood of old men, women and children.
Antonov did not lie in only one thing: what he said is intended exclusively for those who do not know Yulia Paevskaya or have heard about her only from Russian propagandists.
In reality, Yulia Paevskaya is a Ukrainian paramedic who gained fame during the Euromaidan, when she worked as a medical volunteer. After the start of the war in Donbass in 2014, Paevska went to eastern Ukraine again as a doctor, took the nickname "Taira", and also organized the Angels of Taira volunteer service, including providing medical assistance to the military. All of this was mentioned by the US Department of State, explaining the presentation of the International Women of Courage Award by Pie.
As for any other cooperation between Paevskaya and the military, from 2018 to 2020 she did officially cooperate with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but also as a doctor. Then two wings were formed in the “Angels of Taira” detachment: one civil, the other military. By 2020, according to Yulia Paevskaya, she and her team managed to save about 500 Ukrainian soldiers.
After the contract with the Armed Forces of Ukraine expired, Yulia returned to volunteering. In the same 2020, she became a candidate for the Kiev City Council from the Democratic Sokyra party, where she was also presented as “the commander of the evacuation squad at the front, a teacher of tactical medicine, a veteran, a volunteer.”
However, Russian propaganda calls all the facts listed from the biography of Yulia Paevskaya nothing more than fiction and accuses her of being connected with Azov, killing civilians, as well as kidnapping children and selling organs. Before the start of the war in Ukraine, or rather, even until the complete destruction of Mariupol by the Russian army, Paevskaya was not written or talked about in Russia. But on March 16, 2022, leaving the city along the green corridor and accompanying orphans, the Ukrainian paramedic was taken prisoner by Russia. The pro-Kremlin media immediately took advantage of the incident: already on March 27, the NTV channel released the film “The Woman Nicknamed the Beast” , in which the channel’s employees, one might say, are interrogating Yulia Paevskaya.
In the film, the captive paramedic is brought into the room of NTV journalists with a bag over his head and in handcuffs. Their dialogue begins with the fact that propagandists openly compare Paevskaya with Adolf Hitler because of her "styling", emphasizing that she was made "in the best traditions of the Reich." Yulia had to calmly explain that her hairstyle is “called an undercut”. By the way, quite popular.
The NTV film lasts almost 50 minutes, during which journalists try to prove that a criminal is sitting in front of the viewers, stating, for example, that the “Taira Angels” detachment was “under the roof of the Right Sector extremists”, hiding behind the “official legend” about paramedics.
All of the above has no evidence, and Paevskaya herself does not say anything like that to NTV journalists in the film. Probably the only thing propagandists could catch on to was Yulia's lack of medical education. True, there was no secret in this, and Paevskaya herself spoke about this back in 2019, explaining her basic skills in medicine by the fact that she was professionally engaged in aikido.
Only at the end of the film is there a moment when the paramedic allegedly admits his guilt and confirms to reporters that she was a participant in hostilities and transmitted intelligence. However, due to gluing and changing plans, it remains unclear exactly what question Paevskaya answered from journalists, and her words at the end: “Recorded?”, In general, speak for themselves.
In the same NTV film, journalists for the first time hinted that Paevskaya could be involved in the murder of the parents of the children, with whom she allegedly covered herself when leaving Mariupol in "someone else's clothes." This story was quickly picked up by other pro-Kremlin outlets, such as LIFE and Pravda , who already referred to the words of the children themselves without even a hint. It is impossible to find refutation or confirmation of this. However, there is one caveat. Paevskaya herself, in the same NTV film, said that the boy she took with her was about 5-6 months old, his sister was 2.5 years old, and NTV journalists did not refute this. Thus, we are talking about the testimony of children, one of whom is definitely not able to talk yet. In an interview with Radio Liberty, Taira's husband explained that Paevskaya did not "hid behind" the children, as Russian propaganda claimed, but took them out. Under what circumstances their parents died is unknown.
In the NTV film, as well as in other materials of the pro-Kremlin media about Yulia Paevskaya, of course, there is no main thing: she managed to film the care of the wounded in Mariupol, the consequences of the actions of the Russian army in Ukraine and hand over all the materials to the correspondent of the Associated Press before she was taken prisoner. Perhaps it is precisely because of these materials, which depict the blockade of the city, the death of children, the provision of assistance to Russian wounded soldiers, one of whom Paevskaya herself even turned to “the sun”, Russian propaganda had to make a monster out of a woman.
In June, Yulia Paevskaya was released from Russian captivity during an exchange, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced . Soon the woman began to communicate with the media and gave interviews in which she spoke about the conditions of detention in Russian captivity, about psychological pressure and medical assistance. The paramedic had to sing the Russian anthem three to twenty times a day and stare at Putin's portrait in his cell.
Actually, it was after this that Yulia Paevskaya received the International Women of Courage Award, which is awarded annually to women around the world who have demonstrated courage and willingness to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. Explaining its decision, the State Department stressed that Paevska, even after her captivity, "refused to remain silent, after her release she actively advocates for Ukrainian democracy and independence both at home and abroad."