Ukrainian Animal Rescuers Make Perilous Journey to Save Pets Near Donetsk Frontline

The perilous journey made by animal rescuers in Ukraine towards the frontlines in Donetsk has been documented by a journalist, who described “intense” shelling nearby as members of Animal Rescue Kharkiv recovered dogs, cats, and other pets.

Alfons Cabrera told Storyful he accompanied the rescuers, Ruslan and Max, on April 21 as they left Kharkiv for Soloviove and Kurakhove in Donetsk. There they met Aliona, he said, an army medic. According to the Institute for the Study of War’s latest control-of-territory map, Soloviove is less than a mile from the latest Russian advances.

Shells can be heard falling and exploding nearby at several points in Cabrera’s footage. “Just lay, because the shrapnel can fly very, very far,” one rescuer can be heard telling Cabrera as they take cover. At one point, Cabrera said, “three projectiles hit nearby” as they drove.

“At the end of the day, they carry in their van eight dogs, eight cats, three goats and a rabbit,” Cabrera told Storyful.

Cabrera said around 1,000 animals have been rescued by Animal Rescue Kharkiv since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Many are offered up for adoption. Credit: Alfons Cabrera via Storyful

Video transcript

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