Lifestyle Pets Red Cross and Humane Society International Team Up to Aid Pets Affected by War in Ukraine The Romanian Red Cross and Humane Society International are working to transport over a ton of pet food and supplies to the animal rescues, vet clinics, and pet owners of Ukraine By Kelli Bender Published on March 15, 2022 04:55 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: UAnimals The Romanian Red Cross and Humane Society International (HSI) are working together to get pet supplies into Ukraine to assist animals affected by Russia's invasion. Russia's attack on Ukraine continues after their forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 — the first major land conflict in Europe in decades. Details of the fighting change by the day, but hundreds of civilians have already been reported dead or wounded, including children. Millions of Ukrainians have also fled, the United Nations says. "You don't know where to go, where to run, who you have to call. This is just panic," Liliya Marynchak, a 45-year-old teacher in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, told PEOPLE of the moment her city was bombed — one of numerous accounts of bombardment by the Russians. Pets have also been deeply affected by the invasion. According to a release from HSI, animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and pet owners in Ukraine are having trouble finding the pet food and medical supplies needed to keep the country's animals healthy. Dumitru Dragos/HSI In response to this animal welfare crisis, the Romanian Red Cross has decided to add life-saving supplies for animals to its humanitarian aid transport for Ukraine. HSI has donated over a ton of pet food to the Romanian Red Cross to help with these efforts. According to HSI, this is the first time the Romanian Red Cross has included aid for pets in its transports. "In times like these, we know that not only people but also animals need help. We are happy and honored to have Humane Society International on our side, making sure that much-needed pet food will also reach Ukraine with our convoys. The first ton of dry pet food has reached our loading point in Sibiu, and it will be delivered to Ukraine within the next days," Raluca Morar, the executive director of Romanian Red Cross in Sibiu, said in a statement. 3 Friends Killed by Soldiers After Delivering Food to Hungry Shelter Dogs in Ukraine, Loved Ones Claim "We are grateful that the Romanian Red Cross has recognized that the plight of animals in war is inextricably bound up with the plight of the people who live with them and care so deeply about their welfare. We have donated one ton of emergency pet supplies, the first of many to come, that the Red Cross will distribute within Ukraine to help avert a worsening animal welfare crisis. There are large numbers of pet dogs and cats roaming the streets who have become separated from their families; they are bewildered, traumatized, and in need of help. The tragedy of war doesn't differentiate between two legs or four, and together with the Red Cross we will get aid to those people in Ukraine desperately asking for help to keep their animal friends alive in this crisis," Humane Society International/Europe's Romania director, Andreea Roseti, added. Dumitru Dragos/HSI In addition to working with the Red Cross, HSI is teaming up with local animal welfare groups in Germany, Italy, and Poland — and Mars Incorporated — to help pet-owning Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict in their country by providing emergency pet supplies at refugee reception points. "As we respond to the crisis in Ukraine, it's clear that the plight of people is often inextricably linked with the plight of animals. Whether it's refugees fleeing with beloved dogs and cats in tow, or those staying behind to care for animals in shelters, rescue centers, and veterinary hospitals, these people need help, and through our vital partnerships, we are able to provide it," Kitty Block, the CEO of Humane Society International, said. Russia's invasion of Ukraine, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia. Kyiv Zoo Says Staff Is at Closed Ukraine Zoo to Care for Stressed Animals amid Russian Invasion With NATO forces massing in the region around Ukraine, various countries have also pledged aid or military support to the resistance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for peace talks — so far unsuccessful — while urging his country to fight back. Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia, and he is acting in the best security interests of his country. Zelenskyy vowed not to bend."Nobody is going to break us, we're strong, we're Ukrainians," he told the European Union in a speech in the early days of the fighting, adding, "Life will win over death. And light will win over darkness." Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia, and he is acting in the best security interests of his country. Zelenskyy vowed not to bend. "Nobody is going to break us, we're strong, we're Ukrainians," he told the European Union in a speech in the early days of the fighting, adding, "Life will win over death. And light will win over darkness." International Cat Federation Bans Russian Cats from Competition Following Ukraine Invasion To support HSI's emergency animal rescue fund for Ukraine and other life-saving efforts, visit the organization's website. The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.