Volunteers risk lives to save hundreds of pets from Ukraine since start of war

Animal Rescue Ukraine also evacuates people and drops off food supplies across war-torn country

Rory Sullivan
Sunday 01 May 2022 12:49 BST
Animal Rescue Ukraine has brought 550 animals to safety in Poland
Animal Rescue Ukraine has brought 550 animals to safety in Poland (SWNS)

Volunteers have risked their lives to rescue hundreds of pets from Ukraine since Vladimir Putin’s invasion started. Animal Rescue Ukraine, which was founded in early March, is one of the organisations bringing animals to safety in neighbouring countries. So far, it has transported 550 animals to a sanctuary in western Poland, where they await adoption.

The pets come from shelters across Ukraine and are found via telephone tip-offs or social media inquiries. Despite focusing on animals, the small outfit, which works in collaboration with a larger foundation called Centaurus, has also evacuated more than 3,000 people from Ukraine, including those in need of urgent medical attention.

Patrick Westrup, 31, who co-runs the group, said the organisation also donates food to people in Ukraine. His next trip will be to the northeastern region of Kharkiv, where he plans to drop off hundreds of kilos of horse feed after some owners contacted him to say they could no longer provide for their animals.

Speaking to the SWNS news agency, Mr Westrup recalled an earlier journey into Ukraine, which coincided with the Russian forces’ retreat from around Kyiv. “I was there right after the liberation, so the atmosphere was still pretty intense,” he said. “At one of the drop-offs we made, we could hear gunfire in the background, there were small groups of Russian soldiers in the area.”

Additional reporting by SWNS

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