Among the many horrific stories emerging from the Ukraine-Russia conflict, there have been a few small moments of joy.
The heartwarming story of a Ukrainian dog reunited with its owners has thrilled people all over the world.
In a Facebook post on April 10, Ukrainian serviceman Andriy Smirnov shared photos of a Siberian Husky dog, calling for help in locating the pup’s owners. The post received over 6,000 shares and was liked 1,500 times. In the photos, Smirnov was seen cuddling the dog in the car and on the street in Bucha, Ukraine.
Bucha, a town in Ukraine’s Kyiv Oblast, was in the news this week after town officials were able to identify more than 160 residents who were believed to have been killed by Russian forces. The mayor said: “Every day we find more and more corpses, in different parts of our city – in vegetable gardens, parks, playgrounds.”
Before too long, a commenter on the post wrote, “That’s our Yukki!!” We looked for it for a long time, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. The kids cry for him all the time.”
The comment was posted by Marina, who lived in Bucha until the start of the war with her three children and their dog Yukki.
“We were very happy, but the war started,” Marina said. Newsweek“When the shelling started, our beloved dog Yukki got scared and ran away. We looked for him, but in vain.”
Marina and her children had to leave town for their own safety, but she said each day they are heartbroken over the disappearance of their pet.
“But we didn’t give up hope,” she explained, “We kept in touch with our neighbour, and one day he said that Yukki had come home but the house had burned down after being hit by a rocket.”
Yukki stayed at the neighbor’s house, but when the shelling resumed in Bucha, he fled again.
“Then a miracle happened,” Marina said. “He was found by a soldier named Andriy Smirnov. He is with him now and being taken care of. We are awaiting a call from Andriy letting us know when it will be possible to return safely and return Yukki to our family.”
“You are a super nice person,” wrote one commenter on the Facebook post. Another said: “Thank you for helping this sweet lost baby, and thank you for your bravery and courage!”
“We will pray for Andriy every day to save our dog’s life,” Marina said. “He will remain a hero to us for the rest of his life.”
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky describes what victory would look like after the Russian invasion, the latest UN data indicates that more than 4.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the conflict began. As of April 10, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had recorded 4,232 civilian casualties in the country, including 1,793 killed and 2,439 injured.
Newsweek contacted Andriy Smirnov for comment.