Many people told Anastasiia Yalanskaya to evacuate Ukraine when Russian troops invaded. But the 26-year-old Ukrainian refused because she wanted to help others. Yalanskaya was big on volunteering, especially when it came to dogs in need. She stayed behind because she knew that people and animals needed her help.
But in the end, that selfless decision cost her her life. Yalanskaya was shot and killed by Russian troops while taking donations to an animal shelter. She died a hero, but she didn’t deserve the unexpected suffering. Animal lovers around the world honor her dedication.
A shocking death
Since the beginning of the war, Yalanskaya has provided assistance in every possible way near Kiev. She helped a preschool of 40 children who had no food and diapers. She also provided support to a military hospital. But bringing pet food to shelter dogs in Bucha is what killed her.
“I asked her to be extra careful. That a mistake costs extremely much nowadays,” said her husband Yevhen Yalanskyi. “But she helped everyone around. I asked her to think about evacuation, but she didn’t listen.”
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At the time, Yalanskaya was traveling with two other men with whom she volunteered. She posted a video of herself in a car full of dog food shortly before her death. She delivered the dog food but never came home, causing her husband, friends and family to panic.
Her car was later found covered in bullet holes. She and the men she was with were murdered. Yalanskaya’s body has not been identified, but she had her ID with her. No one knows why the volunteers were targeted, but bullets in the car indicate that the damage was caused by someone firing a heavy weapon at close range.
In honor of Yalanskaya’s legacy
Every day more innocent Ukrainians are being killed during the Russian invasion. At least 2,000 civilians are believed to have been killed for no reason. Yalanskaya’s loved ones are devastated to hear the news, especially after she has worked so hard to help others.
“Not being able to help her last journey is very painful for me,” Yalanskyi said. “She was one of the best people I know. She was committed to helping, to helping her friends and relatives and anyone who needed help.”
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Despite the horrors surrounding her, Yalanskaya remained courageous and optimistic in the days leading up to her death. She was proud to live in Ukraine and she was confident that her country would make it. It’s heartbreaking that she doesn’t get to see the end of the invasion, but she’s a hero because of how much she’s helped through these trying times.
“Now I realize even more how important it is to just be able to see the loved ones whenever you want,” Yalanskaya wrote before her death. “We will all be together soon, safe and at peace. I believe in it.”
Rest in peace, Anastasiia Yalanskaya. Thank you for all your incredible volunteer work.
Featured Image: Facebook