Lifestyle Pets Patron the Ukrainian Bomb-Sniffing Dog Awarded Medal of Honor by President Zelenskyy Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy honored Patron, a two-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russell terrier, and the dog's handler, Myhailo Iliev, for their heroic, life-saving work By Nicholas Rice Nicholas Rice Instagram Twitter Nicholas Rice is a Staff Editor for PEOPLE Magazine. He began working with the brand as an Editorial Intern in early 2020, before later transitioning to a freelance role, and then staff positions soon after. Nicholas writes and edits anywhere between 7 to 9 stories per day on average for PEOPLE, spanning across each vertical the brand covers. Nicholas has previous work experience with Billboard, POPSUGAR, Bustle and Elite Daily. When not working, Nicholas can be found playing with his 5 dogs, listening to pop music or eating mozzarella sticks. People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 9, 2022 02:20 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently paid tribute to a heroic pup. Zelenskyy, 44, gave Ukraine's famous bomb-sniffing dog — named Patron — a medal of honor on Sunday in recognition of the canine's efforts to keep the country safe amid Russia's invasion. Patron, a two-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russell terrier, was presented with the honor while in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv alongside his owner, Myhailo Iliev, according to BBC. Also in attendance at the event was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was on an unannounced visit to Ukraine, USA Today reported. "Today, I want to award those Ukrainian heroes who are already clearing our land of mines," Zelenskyy said, per Reuters, during the ceremony. "And together with our heroes, [is] a wonderful little sapper, Patron, who helps not only to neutralize explosives, but also to teach our children the necessary safety rules in areas where there is a mine threat." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Efrem Lukatsky/AP/Shutterstock According to NPR, as part of Patron's duties with Ukraine's State Emergency Service (SES), the pet sniffs out undetonated explosives left behind during Russia's attacks. The news outlet added that since the invasion of Ukraine started, Patron has helped neutralize over 90 explosive devices. Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday. Efrem Lukatsky/AP/Shutterstock Brave Patron has also gained an impressive fan base on social media for his skills and sweet appearance. In April, the SES of Ukraine shared photos on Facebook of Patron for his fans to enjoy, including a shot of a child holding the famous dog. The organization referred to the pet as its "pyrotechnic dog Patron, who is loved by both adults and children." Russia's attack on Ukraine continues after Russian forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 — the first major land conflict in Europe in decades. The invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia. RELATED VIDEO: Ukraine Bomb Sniffing Dog 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, 69, 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." 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.