Watching BBC reporters in Ukraine reporting on the just-commenced war felt as if I was watching a reality television show. The presenters were on a roof and the sirens were blaring. There was the sound of explosions in the background. They put their flak jackets on. It’s a running commentary on a war. This is a new phenomenon. It’s live reporting of an unfolding war due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Putin who simply believes that Ukraine should be part of Russia and he’s been planning it for years.
People are still walking their dogs in parks although the advice is to stay indoors; the outside public places looked relatively deserted. But this is the commencement of a war and therefore you have this strange mix of normality juxtaposed with people walking their dogs, while at the same time you have air to ground missiles pounding into the airport in the background. Pedestrians were doing a bit of shopping and watching the ‘firework display’.
It is very strange because it is a mixture of people going about their daily business while war unfolds around them. Eventually they will have to stop behaving normally and start fighting.
But clearly a war takes a while to warm up. And Ukrainian citizens need time to get into it. And time to arm themselves and to digest the fact that this really is going to be a war because the country had been invaded and they need to start defending themselves. At the moment the Ukrainian army is doing their job but I would hope that after Russia takes Ukraine, which they inevitably will, there will be a resistance movement and the people who we now see walking the dog will be lurking in the ruins of someone’s home with a World War II rifle taking pot shots at Russian soldiers.
The reports are that about 68 people lost their lives thus far. That’s tragic but also tragic will be the loss of animal life. There will be companion animals that are going to be killed or badly injured. It has probably happened already. They are hardly mentioned which is why I am writing this.
There are probably millions of domestic cats and dogs in Ukraine. It has a human population of about 50 million as I recall. My guess is that there will be around at least 7 million cats and dogs combined and probably more. There is, therefore, a great probability that thousands of companion animals will lose their lives in this unnecessary conflict and/or be abandoned.
At the moment it isn’t a conflict it seems to me. It is the Russian forces taking over the place. The first act of aggression by Russia came before Putin declared that he was going to move his troops into Ukraine. It occurred at Kyiv airport I think when Russians already in Ukraine opened up with mortars and attacked the airport. These Russian soldiers were behind the lines so to speak and had been in the country for some time. They caught the Ukrainian soldiers by surprise.
Like any other country there is probably quite a good number of stray cats and dogs in Ukraine. Some of them are befriending Ukrainian troops in trenches and keeping them company. One Ukrainian soldier said that he depended upon his stray dog companion when patrolling is his trench because dogs have better hearing and a far better sense of smell than humans. They were working as a team.
There are also kittens and cats in trenches with these soldiers. They adopted them as they waited for the invasion. The soldiers appear to be manning miles of trenches dug on the northern border between Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainian soldiers have been living in those trenches for many months. It’s home from home and this is why they adopted companion animals informally.
I presume that the dogs and cats simply turned up and the soldiers were happy to see them. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The animals benefit and so do the soldiers.
The great problem with pets is that many thousands are going to be abandoned as there is a great exodus by Ukrainian citizens from the East to the West of the country and I suspect from there some will cross the border into Poland. It’s been projected that about 5 million Ukrainians are hitting the road to get out. The road going West is completely jammed. Above this jam there are helicopters firing missiles. It’s pretty horrific seeing as this is next door to the European Union.
There are fears, too, that Putin may invade other previous USSR satellite countries such as Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. They are beefing up their defences but these are tiny countries. Perhaps once Putin has taken Ukraine, he will turn his attention to these other countries.
There is also talk of the possibility that a third world war might commence. This may occur if Putin isn’t satisfied with taking Ukraine and moves on to Poland for instance. Although I would think that that would be a big stretch. I don’t see it happening.