Zoo animals also make life difficult for Russian invaders.
Russian soldiers viciously wrestled Ukrainian zoo animals into cages and vehicles while retreating from the city of Kherson, video shows.
“While retreating from Kherson, the Russians stole animals from the local zoo,” said Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister. said on Twitter.
One man seen grabbing a raccoon by the tail in the clip – which had garnered nearly 400,000 views as of Tuesday morning – was Oleg Zubkov, the owner of Taigan Lion Park, a private zoo in Russian-controlled Crimea, reported the Washington Post.
Zubkov, whose jacket bore his zoo’s name, fights with the animals in a brazen display of looting in a now-deleted YouTube video.
“We are in Kherson. Oleg Zubkov catches raccoons with BARE HANDS!!!” the headline read before the clip was removed, according to the newspaper.
He and his assistants reportedly made off from the Kherson zoo with seven raccoons, two female wolves, peacocks, a llama and a donkey.
In another video, Zubkov was seen unloading the two wolves at his zoo and told Russian TV crews his action was a “temporary evacuation”.
“It will be much better for the wolves here: large territory, Crimean sun, and besides, after the quarantine they will get a male,” Zubkov said, the Washington Post reported.
“It was her dream to live here,” he exclaimed, adding that the animals would be returned to their original zoo after Russia retakes Kherson.
“For us, this is a humanitarian mission. These animals have no zoological value for us. We have our own wolves. We have 75 raccoons. We could do canned raccoon meat,” he said in a poor attempt at humor.
“Sorry, but seriously, we have a lot of raccoons, but we took these animals to keep them alive and so that the residents of Kherson would be happy to see them alive again. The animals are in good hands,” added Zubkov.
Ministry of Defense of Ukraine posted one of the videos and warned severely of the zoo caper.
“The occupiers stole everything from Kherson: paintings from art galleries, antiques from museums, historical manuscripts from libraries. But their most prized loot was a raccoon they stole from a zoo,” the clip reads.
“Steal a raccoon and die,” the ministry added.
Zubkov said Russia’s designated leader in Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, made arrangements for him to travel to Kherson to remove the animals.
In 2021, the self-proclaimed lion man was convicted of negligence after one of his big cats bit off the finger of a 1-year-old boy in 2021, according to the newspaper.
He was serving two months of a 27-month sentence.
On Monday, Ukrainian soldiers shared emotional reunions and signed autographs following the Russian retreat in Kherson.
Ukrainians could be heard chanting “Kherson is Ukraine” – a rejection of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s shotgun annexation of the province – while taking to the streets with blue and gold flags.
https://nypost.com/2022/11/15/video-shows-russians-stealing-zoo-animals-amid-kherson-retreat/ Video shows Russians stealing zoo animals as Kherson retreats