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A miracle moggie has been plucked from the rubble of a brutal Russian drone strike in Ukraine. Heartbreaking images show the distressed animal cradled in the arms of a rescue worker in Kyiv.
Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media at Humane Society International, told Express.co.uk: “This is one lucky cat which was pulled from the rubble. Animals pulled alive after an explosion like this, can easily suffer from physical injuries like broken bones or internal damage. I hope this cat will be okay – that will be established after veterinary examination.
“Animals can also suffer from the psychological effects of stress. It will be very frightening and bewildering for an animal just as it would be for a human to be involved in this kind of unexpected and traumatic event. I wish this cat all the best.”
Ms Higgins explained that it is not easy to put a figure on the number of pets and animals affected by the war in Ukraine. Some will have been taken out of the country as their owners fled, but others remaining in Ukraine along with their carers.
She said: “For all concerned, it’s incredibly distressing. For animals it is also distressing because they can’t make sense of what is going on with the people they would turn to for comfort injured or displaced.”
Humane Society International branches in Romania, Italy and Germany have been helping by supplying food, medicine and support to owners as well as helping animal shelters, which have taken in pets abandoned by Ukrainian refugees who cannot keep them because of their circumstances.
Visit Humane Society International for more about its work and to donate.
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Senior Program Officer at IFAW’s Disaster Response and Risk Reduction work in Europe, said: “We are continually amazed by the bravery of the many animal heroes we’ve partnered with in and outside Ukraine – from the veterinarians who help refugees with their pets at border crossings to the caretakers who protect wildlife from within the country.
“The conflict, the confusion, the stress and the trauma of war is ongoing, but so is our support.”
IFAW says that since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, it has been issuing emergency grants to animal organisations in the war-torn country and neighboring European countries, helping more than 75,000 animals to date.
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At least four people were killed in the attacks which struck Ukraine. Among the dead is a woman who was six months pregnant and her partner, according to the Mayor of Kyiv.
Local officials said Iranian-made, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Shahed-136 were used during Russia’s attack. Moscow said its forces hit infrastructure and military targets.
The attacks came a week after Russia launched its heaviest air strikes since the first days of its invasion of Ukraine.
Some deaths were also reported outside Kyiv as Russia deployed more than 40 drones.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of terrorising civilians with kamikaze drones and missiles, but he said “Ukraine will prevail”.
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Soldiers fired into the air trying to shoot down the drones after blasts rocked central Kyiv.
An anti-aircraft rocket could be seen streaking across the sky followed by an explosion and orange flames.
A Ukrainian official from the presidential office said three people were killed in an attack on a residential building in Kyiv.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi said there had been deaths in other cities but, did not give a full toll.
Thick, black smoke poured from the windows of the Kyiv apartment building while emergency service workers battled to put out the flames.
Vitalii Dushevskiy, 29, a food delivery courier who rents an apartment in the blasted building, said: “I have never been so afraid… It is murder. It is simply murder. There are no other words for it.”
His flatmate, who gave his name only as Nazar, said they had tried to leave their apartment only to find the staircase gone.
Elena Mazur, 52, was searching for her mother, who had managed to call her to say she was buried under rubble.
Ms Mazur said: “She is not picking up the phone.”
Mr Zelensky said on the Telegram messaging app: “All night and all morning the enemy terrorises the civilian population. Kamikaze drones and missiles are attacking all of Ukraine.
“The enemy can attack our cities, but it won’t be able to break us. The occupiers will get only fair punishment and condemnation of future generations. And we will get victory.”
Officials said a drone attack also hit the Everi marine terminal in the southern city of Mykolaiv late on Sunday, damaging sunflower storage tanks and setting leaking oil on fire.
United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk said drone attacks on civilians had to stop.
The US embassy in Kyiv also condemned the “desperate and reprehensible” drone attacks. Russia denies targeting civilians. Meanwhile, Iran repeated its denial that it is supplying drones to Russia. The Kremlin has not commented.
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