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Workers who stayed behind at Ukraine zoo to help animals 'shot dead by Russians'
20 April 2022, 09:38 | Updated: 20 April 2022, 10:52
Two keepers who bravely stayed behind in Kharkiv to take care of animals have been found shot dead with their bodies discovered barricaded in a back room at the zoo.
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The two employees were reported missing in March but in a video posted on Feldman Ecopark's social media today, the zoo confirmed their bodies had been found.
They claim the staff members were "shot by the enemies" who then "barricaded" their bodies in the back room of the zoo.
A statement reads: "War brings bad news. We have received confirmation that two of our employees who went missing in early March have died.
"When the war started, they stayed in the Ecopark and helped to feed the animals. We arrived at the Ecopark on March 7 and did not find them there.
"We searched for them for a long time, hooked up law enforcement officers. Until the last, we had been hoping that nothing irremediable had happened, and they were able to survive.
"But yesterday we received confirmation that their bodies had been found. Our guys were shot by the enemies, and their bodies had been barricaded in the back room.
"We’ll cherish the blessed memory of these wonderful and courageous people. Sincere condolences to their families and friends. We believe that inhumans who have committed this will definitely be punished!"
'The Ukrainians know if they lose, they disappear.'
In the early days of the invasion the zoo was reportedly shelled "repeatedly" killing three employees and some animals.
On April 5, the Ecopark reported that as a result of mass shelling and bombing by the Russian Armed Forces, its infrastructure and many enclosures were destroyed.
They warned: "The infrastructure is down, the enclosures are down. The biggest problem is big predators.
"Their enclosures still miraculously maintain integrity, but one more shelling - and the lions, tigers, bears, may end up on the will and go towards Kharkov or to nearby villages. We just can't allow this."
The zoo said it caused them "unimaginable pain" to talk about euthanising animals if they could not be secured but said "the main priority now is the lives of people".
English below Война приносит плохие новости. Мы получили подтверждение того, что двое наших сотрудников, которые...Posted by Фельдман Экопарк on Tuesday, April 19, 2022
The eastern cities of Kharkiv and Kramatorsk came under deadly attack yesterday as the Kremlin declared that its main goal was the capture of the mostly Russian-speaking Donbass.
Russia also said it struck areas around Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro west of the Donbas with missiles.
A Russian victory in the Donbas would deprive Ukraine of the industrial assets concentrated there, including mines, metals plants and heavy-equipment factories.
Military experts said the Russians' goal is to encircle Ukrainian troops from the north, south and east.