Russian soldiers retreating from Ukraine's Kherson were caught on camera stealing animals from a local zoo during their withdrawal from the area. Seven raccoons, two female wolves, peacocks, a llama and a donkey from Kherson Zoo were among the animals stolen, a report in The Washington Post said.
Several videos circulating on the internet show Russian soldiers forcefully grabbing the animals from their enclosures. In one of the clips, a Russian soldier is seen cruelly picking up a racoon by its tail and stuffing it into a cage as the animal struggles to free itself from his clutches. The video has gone viral on social media, with Ukrainians renouncing the cruel act and hailing the racoon as the star of the show for the way he put up a fight against the Russians.
Watch the video:
1/ Not only a raccoon was stolen: the occupants took almost all animals from the Kherson zoo, - the head of the NGO UAnimals Oleksandr Todorchuk.— Oriannalyla 🇺🇦 (@Lyla_lilas) November 13, 2022
"The Russian command took most of the zoo's collection to Crimea: from llamas and wolves to donkeys and squirrels." pic.twitter.com/L9aOeJZq9V
Another video shared by Anton Gerashchenko - adviser to the minister of internal affairs of Ukraine - showed a soldier struggling to get a llama on a truck.
Here's the video:
While retreating from Kherson Russians stole animals from the local zoo.— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) November 13, 2022
A stolen racoon caused the most talk - on the video it is fighting with all his strength. pic.twitter.com/8x6duGZ7GX
The incident has also caused a wave of jokes and memes. One user even mocked the hilarious kidnapping in a poster and titled it "Save Private Racoon".
Russian soldiers have stolen a raccoon from Kherson zoo. The social media in Ukraine exploded. Ukrainians want the raccoon back. pic.twitter.com/2jPetEHU03— Liubov Tsybulska (@TsybulskaLiubov) November 14, 2022
Other baffled users wondered what the army intended to do with the animals. Not just the animals, several artworks and medical equipment from the hospitals were also looted from the war-ravaged Kherson.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities have condemned the removal of the animals from the Kherson Zoo, with the country's Ministry of Defense putting up a strong statement on social media.
"The occupiers stole everything from Kherson: paintings from art galleries, antiquities from museums, historic manuscripts from libraries. But their most prized loot was a raccoon they stole from a zoo. Steal a raccoon and die," Ukraine's Ministry of Defense tweeted after the video footage went viral.