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Italian man refuses to depart his 400 rescue animals in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion


This style photographer turned animal rescuer has been dwelling in Ukraine, not removed from Kyiv, for the final 13 years. There, he constructed his award-winning Worldwide Animal Safety League Charitable Basis.

If there was a warfare in your nation, your first intuition can be to cover and search for shelter from the battle. However not Andrea Cisternino.

As Russian forces proceed to launch assaults throughout Ukraine, Cisternino refuses to flee the nation as a result of doing so would entail abandoning his 400 rescue animals.

Andrea Cisternino holding a dog - champion of animal protection

Earlier than he grew to become a champion for animal safety, Cisternino was initially a style photographer from Italy earlier than he married his Ukrainian spouse, Vlada Shalutko. Since transferring to Ukraine, he has overcome many challenges.

“I’ve been right here since 2009. I married and, as a photographer, I began documenting what was taking place throughout the 2012 Euros Championship, then I made a decision to construct an animal shelter and plenty of issues modified – my life modified,” he mentioned.

Initially, the shelter was only for canines, however he ultimately accommodated different animals comparable to horses.

Andrea Cisternino with a cow, he built International Animal Protection League Charitable Foundation.

In an interview with Euronews, he recalled when he was focused by “canine hunters” finding animals for a reward. On the time, the federal government was giving out licenses and cash to those that eradicated stray canines.

Vandals set his shelter on hearth, however Cisternino wasn’t one to surrender. He began over again.

Now, he mentioned he and his animal safety shelter are extra accepted.

“In the present day we collaborate as a neighborhood – after three laborious years I received my battle. We purchase the meals for the canines close by, we purchase wooden from locals,” he mentioned. “I even began a free sterilisation marketing campaign and plenty of got here from the village. They began understanding and so they even apologised for the best way they’d been behaving. As a result of they hadn’t understood till then. So it’s okay, greater than something for my animals.”

Andrea Cisternino holding a goose

A couple of years in the past, the primary tensions of the battle within the Donbas broke out. For the primary time, he felt that he wanted to start out accumulating provisions as a result of he knew something might occur.

Nevertheless, Cisternino by no means imagined {that a} Russian invasion was attainable. However right here it was, taking place earlier than his very eyes.

“They’re taking pictures, sadly that is the scenario,” he mentioned. “Often they begin taking pictures at 5.00 within the morning and go on till 8.00. Then, after some time… effectively, it’s a bewildering scenario.”

Cisternino mentioned that though it has been a couple of days, the disaster feels prefer it has been happening for six months.

Andrea Cisternino with a cat

When requested if he sees himself escaping ultimately, Cisternino couldn’t give a particular reply.

“I don’t know, I’m staying right here for my animals,” he defined. “It depends upon what occurs, however 400 animals is a large quantity to move wherever, to carry them away, and to discover a place for them. There are horses, cows, canines, cats…a little bit of every thing.”

He additionally thought-about the price of constructing the shelter and all of the sacrifices he needed to make to maintain it. These issues make leaving every thing behind loads tougher.

“I by no means imagined he (Putin) might result in this insanity, as a result of for me that is pure insanity,” he mentioned.

Andrea Cisternino holding a lamb

Luckily for him, Cisternino was capable of purchase some requirements for himself in the beginning was shut down.

In the meantime, his spouse is presently in Kyiv and needs to remain there. Cisternino mentioned she isn’t leaving her flat and is “calm.”

“For now, there’s no query of leaving, we’ve by no means considered this,” he mentioned.

Because the invasion began, Cisternino has been receiving loads of messages and calls from his family members.

Our ideas and prayers are with the folks of Ukraine throughout this tumultuous interval.


Victoria Joy
I am an independent lady, working hard to share my ideas from my experiences to the whole world. I want people to be happier and to understand that your life is very very important. Walk with me and experience the beauty this world can offer by following simple logical steps.


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