The morning of February 24 was shocking for many Ukrainians. But if some tried to save their families and take them away from the war zones, others could not leave their pets either.
For example, animal rights activist Asya Serpinskaya was on her way to her shelter in Gostomel that morning. Let’s find out together what this brave woman had to endure during the occupation.
The story of this zookeeper miraculously became known thanks to the Museum «Voices of the Peaceful». Thus, it became known that Asya Serpinskaya founded an animal shelter in Gostomel more than 20 years ago.
Interestingly, the shelter is one of the largest and oldest animal shelters in the Kyiv region. Fortunately, he managed to survive the Russian military occupation. And all thanks to its founder.
As a 77-year-old woman from Kiev admitted, on the first day of the invasion of Russian troops into the territory of Ukraine, when most people defended their lives and the lives of their loved ones, she only thought about how to get to Gostomel.
When my husband woke me up on February 24 and told me that the Russians had attacked, I was shocked. My first thought was: what will happen to the orphanage? There are people and animals. They are waiting for me. So I had to hurry.
After a trip by minibus to Irpin, Asya continued on foot. Eight kilometers that morning seemed endless. Explosions were heard all the time. Smoke was rising from the airport. Dozens of vehicles headed in the opposite direction, away from the troops of the Russian Federation, which had already entered the Kyiv region.
Despite the destruction that day, Asya Serpinskaya did not hesitate for a second. “I had more sense of responsibility than fear. Everyone should be responsible for their work at their workplace so that people and animals do not die, ”the woman explains her life position.
By the way, in peacetime, more than 500 dogs and at least 100 cats were kept at the same time. During the war, more than 1,000 pets received temporary housing. However, the situation could have been much worse.
According to the memoirs of Asya Vilhelmovna, the occupying troops entered the shelter the next day. They were looking for weapons and Ukrainian soldiers.
At that moment, the animal lover tried to restrain herself and respond politely, because behind her were the shelter staff and many animals. However, one of the occupiers did not like that two dogs were barking at them. As a result, one of them was wounded and the other was killed.
But the worst was just beginning. After all, on the same day, there was no water in the shelter. The bombing cut off the electricity, and with it the water pumps.
“Instead of gas and electricity, we used firewood and always had a large supply of food. But when the water ran out, we got scared,” the woman recalls.
Luckily, her husband immediately brought a generator, which got the pumps working again. However, the orphanage itself was a dangerous place until the de-occupation.
During this time, continuous shelling knocked out the windows and damaged the walls and roof. According to Asya Vilhelmovna, the shelter is currently being restored.