Oleg Zubkov steals raccoons and different animals from Kherson Zoo

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Russia’s navy has gained a status for looting its manner throughout Ukraine, taking washing machines, electronics, cultural artifacts and even the bones of the lover of Empress Catherine II. However the newest theft — together with seven raccoons, two feminine wolves, peacocks, a llama and a donkey from Kherson Zoo — entered the realm of farce.

A personal Crimean zoo, Taigan Lion Park, owned by Oleg Zubkov, filmed him inexpertly grabbing raccoons by their tails and dumping them into cages in a YouTube video headlined “We are in Kherson. Oleg Zubkov catches raccoons with BARE HANDS!!!”

The video, which was made unavailable Sunday, confirmed him with two assistants, manhandling the llama right into a dilapidated, windowless van as a canine yapped close by. One other video uploaded Sunday confirmed two wolves that he mentioned have been from Kherson Zoo being unloaded on the Crimean zoo as two Russian tv channels filmed the occasion. He known as it “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 mentioned. “It’s been their dream to live here,” he claimed in feedback to Russian media on YouTube.

He mentioned the animals, together with any wolf cubs, could be despatched again after Russia reoccupies Kherson.

“For us this is a humanitarian mission. These animals do not have any zoological value for us. We have our own wolves. We have 75 raccoons. We could make canned raccoon meat,” he mentioned earlier than guffawing, in what gave the impression to be an ungainly joke. “Sorry. But seriously we have a lot of raccoons, but we took these animals to keep them alive and so that residents of Kherson would be happy to see them alive again. The animals are in good hands.”

Ukraine’s Protection Ministry posted one of many movies and warned of reprisal for the raccoon theft.

Ukrainian troops retook the strategic southern metropolis final week after a Russian retreat. Kherson was one of many first main cities to fall to the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion that started in February. The liberation was greeted with celebration within the streets after months of Russian occupation.

The removing of the animals was extensively reported in Russian media, portrayed as a small shiny spot in an in any other case gloomy image. It got here to mild when nationalist Russian poet and blogger Anna Dolgareva boasted on Telegram that the “only good news” about Moscow’s give up of Kherson was that her buddy managed to “steal a raccoon” from Kherson Zoo.

“We will not return the raccoon,” Dolgareva mentioned. “We will get back Kherson.”

She mentioned a raccoon Telegram channel, Raccoon from Kherson, had been arrange.

Ukrainian animal activist Oleksander Todorchuk confirmed the report on Fb.

Zubkov, who calls himself Lion Man, was convicted of negligence after one among his tigers bit off the finger of a 1-year-old boy in September2021. He was given a jail sentence of two years and three months, and served two months. An occupation court docket canceled the sentence Oct. 27 and freed him shortly after, offered that he didn’t depart the world. Zubkov mentioned the Kremlin’s designated chief in Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, intervened to make sure that he might journey to Kherson to take the animals.

Final month, Russia’s designated administration chief in Kherson, Vladimir Saldo, mentioned that Russia had taken the bones of Grigory Potemkin from his tomb in Kherson. Potemkin, an 18th century Russian navy determine, annexed Crimea, based the town, ruled Russia’s imperial lands within the area and created the Black Sea Fleet. He was additionally famend because the lover and shut protege of Empress Catherine II, who was often called Catherine the Nice.

Lack of Kherson metropolis shatters Putin’s battle objectives in Ukraine

Ukrainian officers have accused Russia of eradicating disabled kids from Kherson to Crimea and Russia, in addition to taking away prisoners of battle. Native unbiased media channels aired video of buses, hearth engines, development gear and even a miniature practice with its carriages for kids — all being pushed out of Kherson within the days earlier than Moscow surrendered the town.

Kherson’s Kremlin-appointed administration additionally eliminated lots of of precious artworks and icons from the Kherson Artwork Museum, emptying the gallery from Oct 31. to Nov. 3, and taking the works, wrapped in rags and packed in unmarked vans, to Crimea earlier than the Russian give up of Kherson, in accordance with museum workers in a Fb submit on Nov. 4.

“They call it ‘evacuation.’ In our language it’s ‘looting,’ ” the submit mentioned. The works later confirmed up within the Central Museum of Tavrida within the Crimean metropolis of Simferopol. Kherson police introduced a prison investigation into the theft of the works, although they’re centered on stabilizing the just lately retaken metropolis.

Police additionally reported that Russian forces had stolen 4 official vehicles of a medical heart, hospital laptop gear, medicines, civilians’ vehicles, boats and searching weapons.

Ukrainian officers have accused Russia of looting or damaging lots of of Ukrainian cultural establishments throughout the battle.

Russian forces additionally mined buildings and blew up a tv tower, communications towers and bridges in central Kherson, in accordance with Ukrainian officers. Native media reported witnesses who mentioned they noticed Russians eradicating constructing supplies, furnishings and family home equipment from Kherson.

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