David Beckham hands over Instagram account to hero Ukrainian doctor

20 March 2022, 20:56 | Updated: 20 March 2022, 21:10

David Beckham has handed over control of his Instagram to Iryna, who is head of the regional perinatal centre and a child anaesthesiologist in Kharkiv.
David Beckham has handed over control of his Instagram to Iryna, who is head of the regional perinatal centre and a child anaesthesiologist in Kharkiv. Picture: Alamy/Instagram

By Sophie Barnett

David Beckham has handed control of his Instagram account to a Ukrainian doctor working in the city of Kharkiv to highlight the "amazing work" of medical staff during the Russian invasion.

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The former footballer, who has supported Unicef since his days at Manchester United, has been urging his followers to donate to the charity, which is working in Ukraine.

To further highlight the plight of Ukrainians medical staff, Beckham has given control of his Instagram stories to Iryna, who is head of the regional perinatal centre and a child anaesthesiologist working in Kharkiv.

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, has been the target of Russian attacks for some three weeks.

Iryna posted clips and images to the sportsman's Instagram Stories throughout Sunday, showing how the war had affected the work of her team.

"Today I'm going to show you how we work in times of war and who we have become during these war days," she said.

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She shared videos showing a basement where pregnant women and new mothers were evacuated to during the first days of the invasion, an intensive care unit where babies are being treated and oxygen generators donated by Unicef.

Iryna, identified only by her first name, said she now works "24/7" and that, "We are probably risking our lives, but we don't think about it at all. We love our work".

She added: "Doctors and nurses here, we worry, we cry, but none of us will give up."

She also posted about Yana and her baby son Mykhailo, who was born on the second day of the war with breathing problems, and whose family home was destroyed during the fighting.

In an update, Iryna said Mykhailo is "better now".

Beckham, who previously played for Real Madrid, has urged his followers to donate to Unicef to help provide families with clean water and food.

Donations will also ensure child protections services continue and will allow Unicef to assess the refugee situation in neighbouring countries.

He thanked his followers for their support, writing: "Thanks to you donations, the oxygen generators they have received are helping newborns survive in appalling conditions."

Beckham is one of a number of celebrities who have shown support for Ukraine during Russia's invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has praised Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher for "inspiring the world" after they raised nearly 35 million dollars for refugees and humanitarian aid efforts in the country.

Mr Zelensky shared on Twitter a photo taken during a video call with the Hollywood couple.

He wrote: ".@aplusk & Mila Kunis were among the first to respond to our grief. They have already raised $35 million & are sending it to @flexport & @Airbnb to help refugees. Grateful for their support. Impressed by their determination. They inspire the world. #StandWithUkraine"