A private Crimean zoo, Taigan Lion Park, owned by Oleg Zubkov, filmed him grabbing raccoons by the tails and throwing them into cages in a YouTube video titled “We’re in Kherson.” Oleg Zubkov catches raccoons with BARE HANDS!!!”
The video showed him with two assistants manhandling the llama in a ramshackle, windowless van as a dog yelped nearby. Another video uploaded on Sunday showed two wolves he said came from Kherson zoo being unloaded at the Crimean zoo as two Russian TV channels filmed the event. He called it “temporary evacuation”.
“It will be much better for wolves here: big territory, Crimean sun, and besides after quarantine they will have a male,” Zubkov said. “It was their dream to live here,” he said in comments to Russian media on YouTube.
He said the animals, including the cubs, would be returned after Russia reoccupies Kherson.
“For us, it’s a humanitarian mission. These animals have no zoological value for us. We have our own wolves. We have 75 raccoons. We could do canned raccoon meat,” he said before guffawing, in what sounded like a goofy joke. “Sorry. But seriously, we have a lot of raccoons, but we took these animals to keep them alive and for the people of Kherson to be happy to see them alive again. The animals are in good hands.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released one of the videos and warned of retaliation for the theft of the raccoon.
The occupiers stole everything from Kherson: paintings from art galleries, antiquities from museums, historical manuscripts from libraries. But their most valuable loot was a raccoon they stole from a zoo. Steal a raccoon and die. pic.twitter.com/1mqBrrKjHQ
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) November 13, 2022
Ukrainian troops retook the strategic southern town last week after a Russian retreat. Kherson was one of the first major cities to fall to the full-scale Kremlin invasion that began in February. The move was greeted with celebrations in the streets after months of Russian occupation.
Kherson residents celebrate liberation and describe trauma of occupation
The animals’ removal was widely reported in Russian media, portrayed as a small bright spot in an otherwise bleak picture. This came to light when Russian nationalist poet and blogger Anna Dolgareva boasted on Telegram that the ‘only good news’ about Moscow’s surrender of Kherson was that her friend managed to ‘steal a raccoon’ from the Kherson zoo. .
“We will not return the raccoon,” Dolgareva said. “We will recover Kherson.”
She said that a Telegram channel about the Kherson raccoon Raccoon was created.
Ukrainian animal activist Oleksander Todorchuk confirmed the report on Facebook.
Last month, Russia’s designated head of administration in Kherson, Vladimir Saldo, said Russia had removed the bones of Grigory Potemkin from his grave in Kherson. Potemkin, an 18th-century Russian military figure, annexed Crimea, founded the city, ruled Russia’s imperial lands in the region, and created the Black Sea Fleet. He was also known as the lover and close protege of Empress Catherine II, known as Catherine the Great.
The loss of the city of Kherson shatters Putin’s war aims in Ukraine
Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of taking disabled children from Kherson to Crimea and Russia, as well as taking prisoners of war. Independent local media channels broadcast videos of buses, fire engines, construction equipment and even a model train and its children’s wagons, all driven from Kherson in the days before the surrender of the city by Moscow.
The Kherson Kremlin-appointed administration also removed hundreds of valuable artworks and icons from Kherson, emptying the gallery from October 31 to November 3 and taking the works away, wrapped in rags and packed in unmarked vans in Crimea before the Russian surrender. from Kherson, according to museum staff in a November 4 Facebook post.
“They call it ‘evacuation’. In our language, that’s ‘looting’,” the post said. The works were later exhibited in the Central Taurida Museum in the Crimean city of Simferopol. Kherson police have announced a criminal investigation into the theft of the works, although they are focusing on stabilizing the recently recaptured city.
Police also reported that Russian forces stole four official cars from a medical center, hospital IT equipment, medicines, civilian cars, boats and hunting weapons.
Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of looting or damaging hundreds of Ukrainian cultural institutions during the war.
Russian forces also mined buildings and blew up a TV tower, communications towers and bridges in central Kherson, according to Ukrainian officials. Local media reported witnesses who said they saw Russians removing building materials, furniture and household appliances from Kherson.