Russia’s soldiers in Ukraine are so poorly supplied they have resorted to eating kangaroo and other zoo animals, it has been claimed. After Ukraine reclaimed the Yampil village, volunteer rescue workers who arrived ten days later were met with evidence that the soldiers had been consuming the animals in the nearby zoo. According to the volunteers, they found bones and pieces of flesh at Yampil Zoo, suggesting some of the animals had been eaten. The disturbing discovery serves as an indictment of Russia’s supply lines issues which have left many of its soldiers underequipped and underfed.
In a local report from Espreso TV, the volunteer workers said: “Many animals were eaten by orcs [Russians]. Locals said they ate kangaroos, we haven’t found the bones yet because there are so many of them, they are scattered all over the zoo.
“There was a bison, it was running around the village, and then it was killed and eaten. Several donkeys, the ostriches were eaten. Someone escaped, the ponies are now running around the territory, we are evacuating them.”
According to the authorities, two camels, a kangaroo, a bison, some piglets, birds and wolves were killed.
Some animals were saved, and are now being cared for in the city of Dnipro. Zookeepers said that prior to the invasion on February 24, the zoo was the home of many animals, including bears, camels antelopes and wild boars.
Volunteers are currently in the process of collecting materials to contact Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, in order to press charges.
Yampil, home to around 11,000 people – according to the 2021 census – was liberated from Russian occupying forces on September 30.
When news broke, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the special units which returned the area back to Ukraine.
He said: “I especially want to commend the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Assault Brigade and the 54th Mechanized Brigade for their constant bravery and heroism in the Siversk and Bakhmut directions. As well as servicemen of 214 Separate Rifle Battalion of the SOF and 103rd Separate Territorial Defense Brigade for the liberation of Yampil.
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In humanitarian law, there is little protection for animals caught up in war zones.
However, more recently there has been a push by to get “ecocide” included in the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The animals at XII Misyatsiv Zoo in Demydiv, on the outskirts of Kyiv have spent nine months locked away during the conflict.
It’s feared many have now been left traumatised by shelling while zoos have been forced to rely on donations.