Animals are also victims of the Russian war in Ukraine

Since the start of the Russian occupation of Ukraine more than a month ago, countless images have spread showing exhausted civilians fleeing conflict zones with their animals. A wide variety of animals including cats, dogs and guinea pigs [نوع من فئران الحقول]and small coins [هامستر] Even foxes – Ukraine’s love of animals seemed to defy the horrors of death, displacement and destruction.

But over the past two weeks, after images of fluffy pets appeared in their owners’ thick clothing, images of dead dogs piled on top of each other, shelled animal shelters and horses have begun to appear. collapsed. These photos revealed what the fight against pets and wildlife in general is doing in Ukraine.

In 2015, PetFood Industry estimated the presence of approximately 750,000 dogs and 5.5 million cats, in addition to livestock and wildlife, and those at zoos in various parts of Ukraine.

In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, where hundreds of Ukrainian civilians have died in the war, Alexander Feldman, the founder of the city eco-park, is faced with the idea of ​​euthanizing large animals if they cannot be evacuated.

In this regard, Feldman says in a statement: “Ecopark Feldman no longer exists. Now we can confirm it. It was constantly bombed, yesterday as today. Infrastructure and barns have been destroyed.”

“The most difficult problem is the large predators. Miraculously, their sieges have not yet been broken – but if the bombing is repeated only once, lions, tigers and bears will panic and may leave their sieges and go to Kharkiv. or nearby villages. “

Feldman seeks to find a way to evacuate the animals before they are injured and killed in battle or escape and become a threat to civilian life. He adds: “If we fail, [في إجلائها]”The only option would be to end the lives of euthanasia predators.”

Not long after Feldman’s appeal, the Ukrainian animal rights organization UAnimals asked him to spare the animals from death and wait for aid to arrive.

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The organization confirmed that “efforts to save the animals have already joined forces and calls on Alexander Feldman not to make hasty decisions and not to kill the animals”. According to the statement issued by the aforementioned organization on Tuesday, it is preparing to evacuate some animals to a safe haven.

In addition, other large animals are lucky enough to find their way out of conflict zones. In late March, the Simba lion and a wolf named Aquila were evacuated from an undiscovered Ukrainian zoo and transported over thousands of miles to Romania with the help of a number of organizations and two British nationals. Tim Lukes, a British volunteer, documented the four-day trip on Instagram.

“It took us three hours to keep the two animals in the back of a Ford Transit mini-van after we removed its seats,” Lux, 45, wrote on social media.

It is worth noting that Lux, who offered assistance to civilians before going to the zoo with his colleague, is not new to volunteering in conflict zones. In 2015, Lux traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan to help fight Islamic State, where he lived for more than a year.

In the same context, Lux says: “Everyone should be evacuated and there are many groups caring for people. It is strange that no one was interested in this issue.” [إجلاء الحيوانات]”… so we decided to take on the task.”

Roxana Ciornai of the Romanian organization for the protection of animal rights, Patrocle House, spoke to AFP about the contribution of Lux and his colleagues, saying: “I did not find a driver from Romania to come and help us, nor I found a driver from Ukraine. “That’s why these two guys were so amazing, they risked their lives.”

Simba (lion) and Aquila (wolf) are safe in Romania today and they will soon be relocating to a private shrine. But the stories of human courage that are spreading also include stories of Ukrainians who risked and lost their lives to protect animals.

The local news site “Kyiv Independent” reported in early March about the killing of three volunteers who had entered Bucha. [ضواحي كييف] To send dog food to a shelter. Bucha was then under the control of Russian forces and the volunteer car was set on fire. Serhii Ustimenko (25 years old), Maxim Kuzenko (28 years old) and Anastasia Yalanska (26 years old) were killed immediately. In Irbin, just five kilometers from Bucha, actor Alexei Surovtsev passed through plumes of smoke and bullet-riddled vehicles to rescue a herd of cats, dogs, rodents and rabbits.

With the withdrawal of Russian forces last week from Erbin and Bucha, evidence of atrocities against civilians began to emerge, including a mass grave and bodies of people handcuffed and shot at close range.

At the scene of the massacre of Ukrainian civilians and destroyed buildings, photos published on Sunday of dead dogs piled on top of each other in the town of Borodianka, near Bucha, added to the anger of many people.

After more than a month in their cages without food and water, 300 of the 458 dogs died of thirst and hunger, as volunteers were unable, due to the clashes, to reach the shelter that housed them, according to “Wanimals “. “On this incident, the head of the Center for Civil Liberties (non-profit association), Oleksandra Matveychuk, wrote on Twitter:” These dogs died a horrible death from hunger and thirst during the Russian occupation. “

In the western city of Lviv, where millions of displaced people wait their way to Poland, many cat cages gather in a shelter and dogs crouch patiently on the ground, trembling near their owners.

In early March, many displaced people waiting to board the train to Poland spoke of the pain of parting with their remaining loved ones in Ukraine. One woman reported that her mother was unable to leave because of the large number of dogs she kept, and she, like many, chose to stay on the front lines of the Russian war in Ukraine with her family of dogs.

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