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 volunteer work, especially when it involved dogs in need. She stayed behind because she knew 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 as she was bringing donations to an animal shelter. She died a hero, but she didn’t deserve the unexpected suffering. Animal lovers all over the world are honoring her dedication.
A Shocking Death
Ever since the war started, Yalanskaya offered help around Kyiv in any way possible. She helped a kindergarten of 40 children who were without food and diapers. She also provided support to a military hospital. But bringing pet food to shelter dogs in Bucha is what got her killed.
“I asked her to be extra cautious. That nowadays, a mistake costs extremely much,” her husband Yevhen Yalanskyi said. “But she was helping everyone around. I asked her to think of evacuation but she did not listen.”
At the time, Yalanskaya was traveling with two other men she was volunteering with. She posted a video of herself in a car full of dog food shortly before her death. She delivered the dog food but never made it home, which caused her husband, friends, and family to panic.
Later, her car was found covered in bullet holes. She and the men she was with were killed. Yalanskaya’s body hasn’t been identified, but she had her ID on her. No one knows why the volunteers were targeted, but the bullet indents on the car indicate that the damage was from someone shooting a heavy weapon at close range.
Honoring Yalanskaya’s Legacy
Every day, more innocent Ukrainians are killed during the Russian invasion. It’s suspected that at least 2,000 civilians were killed for seemingly no reason. Yalanskaya’s loved ones are devastated to hear the news, especially after she 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 human beings I knew. She was committed to help, to help her friends and relatives and whoever needed help.”
Despite the horrors around her, Yalanskaya remained brave 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 get through it. It’s heartbreaking that she won’t get to see the end of the invasion, but she’s a hero because of how much she helped out during these tough times.
“Now I realize even better how important it is to be able to just 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.