A Ukrainian mum who spent three months being imprisoned and tortured by Russian soldiers has spoken out about her horrific ordeal.
Brave Yulia Paievska was put in solitary confinement and threatened with execution after being captured by ruthless Russian invaders. The 53-year-old was also beaten, kicked and starved.
A frontline volunteer medic, Yulia was forced to admit to horrendous crimes after being captured by Vladimir Putin's forces at a checkpoint in March.
“They tortured me. I had broken bones, concussion, dizziness and nausea,” Yulia told The Sun.
"They threatened to shoot me too.
"I asked them to kill me as soon as possible so I didn’t have to see their faces any more.”
Yulia has recovered from the mental and physical toil and severe weight loss and will compete in the Warrior Games later this month.
The multi-sport event in the US sees wounded, injured or ill service personnel and veterans compete.
Yulia was part of an all-women volunteer medic group that had been bringing wounded troops home from the front line since Russia annexed Crimea in a 2014 invasion.
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She was made evacuation captain after joining the Ukrainian forces in 2018 and cared for the wounded as well as helping casualties reach military hospitals.
Yulia was attempting to help 20 women and children to safety after a hospital bombing on March 15 when she was arrested in occupied Donetsk.
She said: “I don’t know what happened to the others on the bus. I hope they’re safe.
“They forced me to confess to crimes I didn’t do, for example that I killed the mother and father of the parentless kids on the bus, and that I harvested organs from soldiers.”
Yulia's daughter Anna spoke at the European Parliament and to Prince Harry at the Invictus Games as part of a campaign to free her mum which eventually succeeded on June 17, a development Yulia described as “a miracle”.
"They didn’t want me to be free, they wanted to execute me. They told me that.
"My daughter and my people from Ukraine raised my case and I owe them everything for that.”
Yulia said the Duke of Sussex called her a week after her release as she spoke to TalkTV and stations worldwide to mark 150 days since of Russia’s invasion.
She said: “He simply inspired me to continue to fight.
"He said that he supports Ukraine and all of us.”
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