15-year-old volunteer killed while evacuating animals from Ukraine zoo

Svetlana Selevina is consoled by her husband at a Kharkiv, Ukraine, hospital after hearing their only son, Dennis, died after Russians shelled Feldman Ecopark during the evacuation of buffalo at the zoo on Thursday. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

May 6 (UPI) — A 15-year-old volunteer was killed in Russian shelling at the Feldman Ecopark zoo in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Thursday as rescuers worked to evacuate animals.

Dennis Selevina died 30 minutes after arriving at a local hospital after the Russians shelled the zoo.

Oleksandr Feldman, Ukrainian MP, delivered the news of the boy’s death on Facebook.

According to Ukraine media outlet Ukrinform, Russian troops have nearly destroyed the facility.

Efforts to move the animals to safety have been going on for weeks. At least five employees have died in the invasion, along with 100 animals.

Feldman Ecopark said in a statement that a team of employees and volunteers came under fire from the Russians as they worked Thursday to evacuate animals.

Two people were also seriously injured in the shelling.

The zoo said the boy helped his parents feed and evacuate the animals.

“The blessed memory of the hero will always remain in our hearts,” the zoo said.

The zoo has been working to evacuate animals since Russian military attacks destroyed enclosures and other infrastructure.

Ukrainian forces appear to have had some success in a counteroffensive near Kharkiv in recent days, taking several small towns in the area. On Monday, Ukrainian troops retook the city of Staryi Saltiv, roughly 30 miles east of Kharkiv.

Ukraine Armed Forces Cmdr. Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said in a Telegram post Thursday that he had briefed U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Ukraine’s counter-offensive efforts in Kharkiv and Izium.

In the post, Zaluzhnyi said Russia is using cruise missiles to try to destroy “logistical routes to provide military and technical assistance to Ukraine.”


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