Ukrainians fleeing the war 'can't leave' their dogs behind
A man seen with his dogs during the evacuation. Thousands of residents of Irpin have to abandon their homes and evacuate as Russian troops are bombing a peaceful city. (Photo by Mykhaylo Palinchak/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Along the hallways leading out of Ukraine, mounds of abandoned clothing and other personal items are strewn everywhere. People leave their belongings behind since carrying them farther is more difficult, according to Ludmila Sokol, a gym instructor fleeing Zaporizhzhia in the south.
Their pets, on the other hand, remain with them.
Pets that people couldn't leave behind are everywhere among the 2.3 million refugees fleeing Russia's invasion: birds, bunnies, hamsters, cats, and dogs.
People fleeing Kyiv's suburbs huddled under a collapsed bridge, carrying minimal luggage and abandoned their cars on the road. Their pets, on the other hand, remained with them.
During the evacuation, one woman transported her dog across an improvised bridge across the Irpin River. Another woman nuzzled her orange cat nose to nose at a train station in Poland.
As she crossed the border into Medyka, Poland, a small girl covered in an aluminized blanket held her two Chihuahuas tightly.
As they sat in a hotel ballroom turned into a refugee shelter, a woman who had made it to Romania cuddled her small puppy.
One woman stated that she felt obligated to protect not only her family but also her dogs.
Victoria Trofimenko, 42, said in an interview with The Associated Press via Zoom days after the fighting began that she had originally planned to never leave Kyiv.
However, while missiles and explosives poured down, she considered her responsibility to safeguard her 18-year-old daughter, 69-year-old mother, and her dogs, Akira and Galileo.
She purchased train tickets to travel west, eventually arriving in Prague. She stated she was grateful to have Akira by her side for protection when she initially came in Hungary.
I'm afraid I won't be able to leave my pets or cats. I have to accept responsibility for my actions she stated