Young Ukrainian volunteer killed delivering aid to dog shelter near Kiev: ‘She was a hero’ – National


As Russian troops closed in on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, Anastasiia Yalanskaya insisted she stay, even as her friends and family fled around her.

The young Ukrainian woman was delivering food to a dog shelter in Bucha, 30 kilometers from Kiev, on Friday when she was shot and killed alongside two men she had been volunteering with.

Yalanskaya’s friends and family say her car was deliberately targeted at close range by Russian troops. Global News was unable to confirm the circumstances of his death.

Friends are unsure why she was targeted, but believe that Russian troops are increasingly targeting random civilians in order to scare the population into submission.

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Ukrainians resist as Russia hammers big cities

Ukrainians resist as Russia hammers big cities

“I asked her to be extra careful. That nowadays a mistake is extremely expensive, ”says her husband Yevhen Yalanskyi.

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“But she was helping everyone around. I asked her to think about evacuation but she didn’t listen.

Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials, the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine is rising – although the total number remains unclear.

As of March 1, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said it had registered 752 civilian casualties. The following day, Ukraine’s state emergency service said 2,000 civilians had been killed.

Friends believe she was killed at close range

Yalanskaya was delivering food to a dog shelter that had been without food for three days in Bucha, near Irpin, a town in the crosshairs of Russian bombardment as the invaders closed in on Kiev.

Her final Instagram Story, posted hours before her death, shows her sitting in the backseat of a vehicle, smiling at the camera, next to bags of dog food.

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Yalanskaya’s best friend Anastasiia Hryshchenko, who evacuated to Vinnytsia, 250 kilometers southwest of Kiev, raised the alarm about her friend after she hadn’t heard from her since many hours.

A photo of Yalanskaya and the volunteers she was killed with on Friday.

Hryshchenko says she had been in constant contact with Yalanskaya, due to dangerous areas around Kyiv where fighting has intensified in recent days, including the area where her friend was delivering food and medical supplies.

When Yalanskaya didn’t respond for several hours, she contacted the father of a man Yalanskaya had volunteered with. The trio were to return home after their trip.

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He told her that he had found their car, riddled with bullets, not far from his house, says Hryshchenko. They had delivered the dog food and were almost home.

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The damage to the car indicated that it had been shot at close quarters and from a “heavy weapon”, she said.

Although there has been no formal identification of her body, Yalanskaya wore her driver’s license and has distinctive tattoos which have been identified by friends. His body remains in a morgue in Bucha because the fighting is so intense that no one can get through, Hryshchenko said.

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Moscow defiant as global condemnation of Ukraine invasion heats up

Moscow defiant as global condemnation of Ukraine invasion heats up

“Not being able to help her last trip is very painful for me,” Yalanskyi says. He and Yalanskaya were separated but remained extremely close, he says, a fact that other friends have also spoken about. He is currently in Sri Lanka.

“She was one of the best human beings I know. She was committed to helping, to helping friends and family and anyone who needed help,” Yalanskyi said.

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“She loved animals. We had a dog and a cat. She was the best partner I ever had.

“We will soon all be together, safe and at peace”

Yalanskaya, a job recruiter, blogged daily on Telegram to update friends and family about her surroundings as she provided aid in the area.

On Saturday February 26, she wrote on the channel in Russian, after spending the night sleeping in a parking lot due to fears of bombings: want.”

“We will soon all be together, safe and at peace. I believe it.”

Anastasiia Yalanskaya, a young volunteer in Ukraine, was shot dead while delivering aid.

In the days before, she chronicled her volunteer work and spoke about her encounters with Ukrainian armed forces at checkpoints, saying she was proud to be Ukrainian “for the first time in my life”.

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On Tuesday, she wrote about helping a kindergarten in Brovary, just outside Kyiv, where 40 children were without food or nappies, as well as helping a military hospital and food for volunteer dogs.

“We are not afraid. We are united like never before. We help each other. We stand for hours at roadblocks and thank those who protect us,” she wrote. “We win.”

On Wednesday, Yalanskaya wrote her longest-running post, detailing her thoughts and feelings from her week of volunteering.

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Further increase in Russian troops during the invasion of Ukraine

Further increase in Russian troops during the invasion of Ukraine

She said she had to drive with the windows ajar to hear which side of the road the shelling was on and “hit the accelerator” as she passed the forest.

Hryshchenko says Yalanskaya told him the fighting was particularly intense around the forest.

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“Don’t slow down” signs must be obeyed, Yalanskaya wrote, or “you can hear random sh_t exploding right next to the wheels.”

She wrote that she was visiting people to drop off supplies 20 kilometers from the fighting and 200 meters from the fighting.

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“The ‘hotter’ the place you are heading to, the more people there will be at roadblocks to dissuade you from going. But when they see the determination in your eyes, they will wish you strength, they will thank you and ask you to be careful.

On Thursday, Yalanskaya outlined her plans for the next day – the day she died.

“I’m tired. Third day in the car,” she wrote. “Can’t get to Irpin. They blew up the bridge where I went yesterday.

“Tomorrow we will try to enter from another side.”

“She has never been so proud to be Ukrainian”

Yalanskaya’s friends are in shock after her death, though they’re not surprised she was killed helping people, as that was what she was known for.

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Hryshchenko says Yalanskaya was a “kind and caring person” and “she could energize everyone around her”.

While people had asked her to evacuate for her own safety, Yalanskaya was “absolutely sure she was needed there,” she says.

Yalanskaya decided to stay in Kyiv as her friends and family fled, despite protests from relatives.

“She was a very good person, she always helped everyone, she wouldn’t do anything else.”

Hryshchenko says civilians are now increasingly targeted, especially around Kyiv.

“They just shoot random people. They see civilians and they shoot them,” she said.

“They want people to be scared and horrified. But that only makes our people braver.

Valeriia Gorska, a former colleague and friend, said “the world should know she is a hero”.

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“She was helping people. She believed in people.

“I knew her three years ago, and I know her now, and I saw a change in her recently. She was so strong. And she has never been so proud to be Ukrainian.

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