Eastern Ukraine: invisible victims of someone else’s war

“Imagine a Yorkie who ended up on the street and is forced to look for food and water on his own,” says Ukrainian animal rights activist Maryana Stupak. “At the same time, he is fighting for his life among the ruins of a village left by the inhabitants in the frontline zone. How long will he last? The fate of large dogs in such conditions is no less tragic – they also helplessly wait for the return of their owners, and then die of hunger or wounds. Those who are more enduring, stray into flocks and begin to hunt. Someone is more lucky, they are taken to the surviving shelters. But the situation there is deplorable. Designed for 200-300 individuals, they are sometimes forced to keep up to a thousand pets. Of course, it is not necessary to wait for help from the state. We have people from the affected areas barely making ends meet, and what can we say about animals.

Maryana Stupak, an animal rights activist from Kyiv, helps our smaller brothers from eastern Ukraine. She collects money for food, organizes its transportation to animal protection organizations and preserved shelters and mini-shelters for 30-40 individuals, which, as a rule, are kept by elderly people who could not leave on their own and take their wards from the conflict zone. Through caring people, Maryana finds overexposures or even owners of abandoned cats and dogs.

It happened to the girl to independently take animals out of the frontline zone and transport them to Poland, to her fellow animal rights activists. This is how more than a dozen cats got their new birth.

It all started with the fact that once, during a trip to her friends in Krakow, Maryana told the Polish animal rights activist Joanna Wydrych from the organization Czarna Owca Pana Kota (“Pan Cat’s Black Sheep”) about the terrible situation that has developed with animals in the conflict zones in Ukraine .

“Joanna is a very sympathetic, kind person,” says Maryana. She arranged an interview for me for a Krakow newspaper. The article aroused quite a lot of interest among readers. People began to write to me and offer help. Thus was born the idea of ​​an initiative to help animals, victims of the war, which began to operate in November last year. A wonderful activist of the animal protection movement, Dorota Danowska, suggested holding a feed collection in the largest and oldest vegan restaurant in Poland, Vega. The response was incredible – about 600 kg of feed per month! We created a Polish-language one (in Russian, the translation of its name sounds like “Help to Animals, Victims of War”), for which we developed a logo and a splash screen. Through it, users exchange information there, help the victims with money and food. 

Today, about 2-4 people are constantly involved in animal rescue. Joanna’s organization helps to write and send explanatory official letters to the border. Of course, nothing would have happened without the constant charitable help of caring people.

– How exactly is it possible to transfer food, given the situation in the country?

“It was not easy,” Maryana says. “At first we tried to transfer food to the war zone itself. I had to personally negotiate with bus drivers from volunteer initiatives for humanitarian assistance. If you help people, you can personally go east with such an escort. But no one will organize such assistance to animals.

At the moment, the food is sent by mail to the front-line cities, and the collected funds are sent to the settlements where the war is going on or which are not under Ukrainian control.

– How many shelters and how often do you manage to help?

– Unfortunately, there is no regularity, since everything depends on income. The coverage is not very large: we send money to 5-6 mini-shelters, we send food to 7-8 more places. 

– What help is needed today in the first place?

– On the territory of Ukraine, volunteers are needed who are ready to monitor the situation, write posts in the group, and call shelters. Drivers are needed to transport food. We really need activists who would take responsibility for a long period of time to launch an analogue of the Polish group in Russian and English. To discuss details, you can contact me directly by e-mail     



Suicide bombers of Donbass

Very actively and effectively, animals from the conflict zone were rescued by volunteers from the “project”, which was initiated by the OZZh organization “FOR LIFE” 379 tons of feed! But, unfortunately, from September 653, it was decided to transfer the project to targeted work due to the almost complete lack of funding. The essence of the project today is to publish posts from those in need, reading which people can donate money to one or another shelter. Here is what is written on the wall of the group today:

“During the year of the project, we did everything we could. Now in Ukraine there are still many animals in need of your help, and we ask: monitor the posts in our group and support them to the best of your ability! We are very grateful to everyone for their help and to many for their cooperation, even if it is a small contribution, we managed to save many lives, and let the war end soon.”

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