“It’s not only people suffering, because of the war, but a lot of animals too.”
Millions of war refugees have fled Ukraine since Russian troops invaded the country on February 24. Many people have made this harrowing journey with their pets in tow. One Ukrainian man even carried his elderly German shepherd for miles as he walked to the Polish border.
But many others were sadly forced to leave their pets behind, leaving Ukraine’s war-torn cities filled with fighting, rubble, and abandoned animals.
“A lot of animals were left behind throughout the country,” one Ukrainian journalist, Anna Yaremenko, told Newsweek. “It’s war, you can’t blame people, but you do whatever you can to save animals. It’s not only people suffering, because of the war, but a lot of animals too.”
Fortunately for these abandoned pets, brave heroes have stayed behind to care for Ukraine’s four-legged victims of war.
This courageous club includes Tania and Valerii, two Ukrainian women who have been caring for abandoned cats in the Ukrainian city of Shostka (near the country’s border with Russia) ever since Russia invaded.
According to Newsweek, these women have been trapped in the city since the early days of the invasion. But while friends and family decided to flee, Tania and Valerii opted to stay behind to care for all the animals abandoned during the war.
“They’ve been living under blockade since the first days of the war,” their friend Anna explained. “It is impossible to enter or leave the city. No new supplies, no post offices working, and hardly any shops.”
Now Tania and Valerii are living in an underground bomb shelter where they feed and care for cats who’ve been tragically separated from their families.
According to a video Anna (who uses the handle Kusias-mom) posted on Reddit, the women are caring for a growing number of abandoned cats in their underground shelter. Residents include Milady, a one-eyed cat called Toffee, and a sweet feline, Stepashka, who reportedly loves getting back scratches.
But Tania and Valerii’s limited resources can’t keep up with the soaring number of needy animals, especially under a war-time blockade that leaves food and supplies especially scarce.
“For now, they’re having to seek cat food, supplies, and medication,” their worried friend said. “The city isn’t big and it’s been a month already and the cats just keep coming.”
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