Ukrainians march with pets to freedom via only means of escape

Currently, the only means of escape for Ukrainians trapped in the Russian-controlled east and south of Ukraine is through a northern crossing on the Ukraine-Russian border called the Kolotilovka Pokrovka checkpoint. It’s near the town of Sumy.

Ukrainian woman refugee fleeing Ukraine on this occasion into Poland with her two cats and dog
This picture shows a Ukrainian woman and her three pets travelling from Ukraine to Poland earlier in the war as I understand it. It is here to illustrate the problems that these refugees have in escaping to a safe place from the war zone. I’m told that there are many cats and dogs travelling with refugees over the aforesaid checkpoint but I couldn’t find a photograph to illustrate this story. Image: Reddit.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

This means that they have to travel huge distances from the south of Ukraine in Russian-controlled territory up to the north and then across this border crossing where they arrive each day carrying cats and walking their dogs while dragging suitcases and pushing prams. They can be spotted from a distance shuffling across no man’s land towards freedom.

The final stretch of this arduous journey is a mile long and it separates Russia from Ukraine. It must be completed on foot. Ukrainian border guards count the number crossing daily.

The Kolotilovka Pokrovka checkpoint outside Sumy is an anomaly according to The Times report. It’s the only crossing in over 1000 miles of the front line and the only means of escape nearly 5 million people living under Russian-controlled Ukraine.

Up until now this crossing has been spared by Russian attacks. It’s the only border crossing remaining open as mentioned and around 50 Ukrainians flee through it daily.

About 32,000 people have used the checkpoint during the war according to a local charity, Pluriton. A volunteer with Pluriton said that “Lots of people have come back to die”.

They have to leave Russian-controlled Ukraine by going into Russia near the border and via Belgorod to get to this checkpoint.

The area around the checkpoint is under construction while Ukrainians build fortifications in anticipation of another Russian offensive. Farmland has been sacrificed for trenches and anti-tank traps.

It is both the people and their companion animals which concerns me and many others. There are some harrowing photographs of cats and dogs accompanying refugees. Many Ukrainians refuse to leave without their cats and dogs.

It must be incredibly tough to bring them along on these arduous journeys to freedom particular for the cats who have to be carried. It seems that the cats adapt to this new way of life which is so transient and unsettling for them.

We know how cats like to live in a settled home which their home range; territory which they know well through the smells, sights and sounds to which they become accustomed. Suddenly they are uprooted into a strange and frightening world. They are as scared as their owners who are driven to escape Russian oppression.

The Reddit post carrying this picture:

The border crossing:

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