Soldier of Ukraine's 5th Regiment of Assault Infantry react after firing a US-made MK-19 automatic grenade launcher towards Russian positions in less than 800 metres away at a front line near Toretsk in the Donetsk region


  • The gray dwarf hamster is included in the Red Book of Ukraine that lists rare and endangered species
  • The Russians also stole raccoons and wolves from the Kherson Zoo, says a report
  • Crimean zoo owner Oleg Zubkov said they will return the stolen animals after Russia reoccupies Kherson

Russian soldiers are now being accused of torturing animals in Ukraine, including a rare hamster species protected by Ukrainian law.

Several animals were found hanging in areas abandoned by the Russian army. Among the tortured animals was a gray dwarf hamster, which is listed in the Red Book of Ukraine, as per the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

"Killing is entertainment for them. When the occupiers are unable to torture&kill civilians, they do it to animals," the defense ministry wrote in a tweet. "At one position abandoned by Russians, animals were found executed by hanging. Among them, a rare gray dwarf hamster that is listed in the Red Book of Ukraine."

The Red Book is a document that lists rare and endangered species of animals, plants and fungi protected by Ukrainian law. Ukraine is currently developing practical and scientific measures to protect and restore endangered species.

The defense ministry's post comes just one day after The Washington Post reported that seven raccoons, two female wolves, peacocks, a llama and a donkey were stolen from the Kherson Zoo by the Russian military.

The outlet also noted that Oleg Zubkov, owner of the private zoo Taigan Lion Park in the occupied Crimean Peninsula, was recorded grabbing raccoons with bare hands and dumping them into cages. The now-deleted video also showed Zubkov "manhandling a llama into a dilapidated, windowless van."

A separate video uploaded on YouTube on Sunday also showed two wolves from Kherson Zoo in a cage. Both wolves appeared frightened as they were being filmed by television channels and unloaded at the Crimean Zoo.

In comments to Russian media on Youtube, Zubkov said they were on a "humanitarian mission" to temporarily evacuate the animals. He added that the stolen animals would be sent back to Kherson after Russia reoccupies the city.

The Russians abandoned Kherson last week, allowing the Ukrainian army to liberate the city. The retaking of Kherson was one of Ukraine's biggest successes since the war began in February.

Russian Soldier In Snow
Representation. Russia is recruiting reinforcements from the country's Far East region as "they are better adapted to life in low temperature conditions and will be more effective in winter," according to Ukrainian intelligence. Eugene_69/Pixabay