A man in Ukraine has been dubbed a hero after staying with his 400 animals amid the Russian invasion. His animal shelter is in the capital, Kyiv, where loud explosions have been happening intensely since Putin invaded the country on February 24th.


Andrea Cisternino is an Italian photographer who now owns an animal rescue in Kyiv. He’s said that he would ‘rather die’ than leave his animals, including dogs, cats, sheep, and goats.

Cisternino has over 70,000 followers on Facebook and has shared his updates since the situation occurred. In a post on February 24th, when the invasion occurred, he posted,

“I will die here for my animals… I have to think about saving a refuge and its 400 guests who deserve to be protected at any cost.”

He has posted pictures of many Russian troop planes flying over his shelter and keeps his following up to date on his and the animals’ safety.

The night after the first day of Invasion, he posted a picture of himself and one of his pigs and wrote about the new curfew and how all of their utilities were shut off.

“Last post of the day, here is the curfew from 10 pm to 7 pm, everything is shut off, shelter in the dark, houses with low lights, dark city at least here, more explosions a little while ago, let’s hope for a peaceful night for what you can say.”

The morning after Putin’s invasion, he updated his followers about how terrifying this time is.

“This morning the sky around the Refuge was red, continuous artillery firing even through the night, can’t sleep, I saw 15 minutes ago an artillery shot falling far from the Refuge, but I could smell the gunpowder well I heard military columns in the distance they moved, planes flew by, may God help us and curse those who wanted to start all this.”

Explosions have been happening all over the country, and fire and clouds of smoke can be seen coming from everywhere. Cisternino has kept his Facebook up to date and thanked everyone for their support.

These brave people staying behind at animal shelters and sanctuaries are indeed all heroes and deserve recognition for their sacrifices.

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