Russia’s war on Ukraine is having a devastating impact as civilians have been suffering and dying, including women and children, and more than 14 million Ukrainians have already fled their homes.
Ukrainian animals and pets are also suffering from Russian aggression and if people cannot take care of their safety, then animals are completely defenceless.
Most Ukrainians are showing their humanity and courage – they do not leave their animals in the bomb shelters or evacuations, carrying their pets such as dogs, cats, parrots and turtles with them.
The EU recognises animals as sentient beings and provides humanitarian and emergency support to protect human and animal lives. In order to raise awareness of Ukrainian animals affected by the war and to draw attention to the outstanding demonstration of humanity and compassion of Ukrainians towards animals, the European Union in partnership with NGO UAnimals implemented a digital communication campaign during April-May 2022.
As part of the campaign a series of short videos based on true stories have been produced, covering the different aspects of the issue with their further dissemination on social media. The photos and video footage are courtesy of UAnimals NGO.
The content of the videos was aimed at:
- enhancing Ukrainian and European citizens’ understanding and awareness of Ukrainian animals that are massively affected by Russian aggression and are in desperate need of help;
- demonstrating that Ukrainians are brave and humane citizens who do not abandon their much-loved pets in an attempt to help as much as possible;
- conveying the importance of Ukrainian civil society organisations’ (CSOs) involvement in taking humanitarian action and promoting the EU assistance;
- inspiring community leaders and citizens in Ukraine and the EU to support Ukrainian animals and volunteers.
The first short video named ‘Ukrainian volunteers saving animals from war’ included visuals illustrating tragic stories of animals from the temporarily occupied territories by Russia, or active combat zones. After the liberation of the Kyiv region by Ukrainian forces, evidence has emerged that not only have civilians been indiscriminately killed by Russian soldiers, but also their pets and animals at shelters in Kyiv oblast. Some have died of hunger, others have managed to survive with the help of their owners, volunteers or people who found them. These stories need attention from the European community to highlight the extent of suffering of entire communities with innocent human and animal lives being senselessly ended by Russian soldiers. The video has a sensitive content.
The second short video named ‘Animal welfare in wartime’ focused on success rescue stories and the role of Ukrainian volunteers and CSOs in the evacuation of animals from shelters, farms and zoos throughout Ukraine.
The third short video known as ‘Ukrainians and their animals affected by war’ featured Ukrainians as a moral nation, highlighting the way its animals are treated during the war. It was told using visual stories of Ukrainian citizens, civic activists, volunteers and soldiers evacuating and/or rescuing animals.