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8-months Ukrainian pregnant medic held captive by Russians

Ukrainian Medic Mariana Mamonova, who got married one year ago and is soon for to give birth, is held in Russian captivity with Ukrainian POWs. Photo: radiotrek.rv
8-months Ukrainian pregnant medic held captive by Russians
Medic Mariana Mamonova saved the lives of Ukrainian defenders of Azovstal, the fortress from which they fought off Russian attacks on the seaside city of Mariupol for over three months. Now she is held in captivity with Ukrainian POWs despite being eight months pregnant, Radiotrek.rv reported.
The 30-year-old medic joined the military after Russia’s first aggression in 2014 and was stationed in Mariupol when Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Russian troops soon besieged the city that was cut off from the Ukrainian forces and razed it to the ground, killing at least 100,000 civilians, according to the latest estimates. Resisting the attacks was the Mariupol garrison, stationed in the underground bunkers of Azovstal steelworks. Mariana, who got married one year ago, felt she was pregnant during her work in the underground hospital, where Ukrainian defenders were treated with the limited means available in a besieged city.
Her relatives were shocked, but nothing could be done. Despite her pregnancy, the woman kept carrying wounded soldiers; she had to be strong for the sake of her subordinates, according to her sister Anna:
“She said that she had to get them out of this hell and bring each one home.”
Mariana Mamonova wanted to help everyone, but medicine was lacking. The hardest thing was to watch patients die in her arms.

“Once, a 22-year-old [soldier] died in her arms. She heard his last heartbeat. She sat down and started crying because she realized that his mother was waiting for him at home alive.”

Photo: radiotrek.rv
On 20 May, the Mariupol garrison was ordered to surrender under the guarantees of the UN and the Red Cross; most POWs were taken to Olenivka prison in occupied Donbas. Among them is, likely, Mariana.
The Ukrainian organization “Women of Steel,” which unites relatives of the POWs, is lobbying for her release. Its head Nataliia Zarytska says that Russia is intentionally delaying the exchange of the pregnant medic to ramp up her “value” in the exchange.
“How vile do you have to be to keep this girl captive and put pressure on the Ukrainian side and the world to exchange her?” said Zarytska.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, 131 women are among the POWs from the Azovstal plant captured by Russian invaders, including military personnel, border guards, and 33 medics. The latest ones are not considered combatants in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
According to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Over 2,500 Mariupol defenders are in Russian captivity. Only 95 of them have been released as part of the prisoner exchange.
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