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

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."

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Dog Patron called Bullet at an award ceremony for his owner, a sapper, in Kyiv, Ukraine
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.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, attend an award ceremony for a Ukrainian sapper and his legendary dog Patron in Kyiv, Ukraine
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.

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