At an animal shelter in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Natalia and Volodymir had to say goodbye to their beloved Charly.
The couple lived in the eastern city of Kramatorsk where Ukrainian troops fought Russian invaders and were forced to flee their home taking their cat Charly along with them.
But after a difficult journey west on a packed train they finally decided to let Charly go, concluding that setting up a new life hundreds of miles from home would be already hard enough without having to worry about their hyperactive cat being trapped for hours in a carrier.
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“Our trip by train lasted for 40 hours…there were many people and we were afraid that he would be crushed.” Natalia said.
Rasma, a Latvian woman who drives into Ukraine to rescue pets, offered Charly a safe place to stay while his family try to survive the war and find a way to return home one day.
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As she prepared to fit cages to her vans to take Charly and dozens of other pets across the border into Latvia until the war is over, Charly’s family prepares to say their final farewells to their beloved cat.
“Charly, my little one, you will come back home, but you need to stay in a different place for now, you will be good there,” said his heartbroken mom while his dad could no longer hold back his tears.
Charly’s dad said they did not know what their future held: “We hope that Ukraine will endure and win and we will come back home.”
News & Images by REUTERS