Ukrainian Soldiers On The Front Lines Live Alongside Dogs And Cats To Boost Their Morale

Andrea A.
17/3/2016

Since April 2014, Western Ukraine has been a battlefield between Ukrainians and pro-Russian separatists. On the front lines nearMarioupol, one of the last big Eastern Ukrainian cities which is still under Kiev's control,the Ukrainian soldiers spend their days alongside cats and dogs.

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Source : @AFP

The majority of these animals were abandoned by their families who were forced to leave their homes in war zones. Left to fend for themselves, they would have probably died from starvation had it not been for the kindness of the soldiers.

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Source : @AFP

In Sartana, on the outskirts of Marioupol, two abandoned female cats were recently saved from bombs by the soldiers. Pavlo, a 28-year-old artillery soldier, explained:

The animals are part of a win-win relationship.
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Source : @AFP

"An anti-depressant" 

In exchange for shelter, warmth and food, the animalsgive an enormousmorale boost to all of the homesick and war-weary soldiers. Cuddling the animals makes them forget the horrors of the war for a moment.

Source : @AFP

"They are like an anti-depressant — they lift your mood. You call them, and a whole swarm of them comes running your way. And you immediately feel better", said Rodon, amilitary medical attendant, as he fed the dogs.

"Irreplaceable assistants"

And the soldiers take great care of the dogs because they are also a huge support for them in battle."Dogs are also an irreplaceable assistant. They work like an alarm when there is a threat. That is because they hear and see much better than people do. They warn us whenever the enemy nears," the young soldier, Pavlo, continued.

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Source : @AFP

Rodon, the medical assistant, admitted to treating the dogs with his medical equipmentif they need it. He even treated them with vodka as a last resort antiseptic.

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Source : @AFP

The cats are also a great help to the soldiers. Pavlo went on to explain how useful the cats could be:

Where there is a cat, everything is alright. They help fight the spread of infectious diseases by hunting down the rats and mice.
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Source : @AFP

"I will name my kitten once I take him home"

All of these animals have no hope of finding their families again. But they have new ones waiting for them. Many of the soldiers have said they are willing to adopt their four-legged friends once the conflict is over.Pavlo concluded saying, "I will name my kitten once I take him home to Kiev."

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Source : @AFP