3 Friends Killed by Soldiers After Delivering Food to Hungry Shelter Dogs in Ukraine, Loved Ones Claim

Anastasiia Yalanskaya, 26, had reportedly remained in the embattled Ukrainian capital, under Russian fire, to help others

Anastasiia Yalanskaya
Anastasiia Yalanskaya. Photo: Facebook

A dog shelter outside of the Ukraine capital of Kyiv was without food for three days when Anastasiia Yalanskaya, 26, and two friends delivered food to the hungry pups around noon on Friday, despite the area being under Russian fire, according to Canada's Global News.

Soon after the delivery to the shelter in the town of Bucha, a Russian military vehicle opened fire on the car at close range, killing all three friends, according to The Kyiv Independent.

"I asked her to be extra cautious. That nowadays, a mistake costs extremely much," Yalanskaya's husband, Yevhen Yalanskyi, told Global News.

"But she was helping everyone around," Yalanskyi told the outlet. "I asked her to think of evacuation but she did not listen."

A friend of another victim told the Independent: "The car was [obviously] civilian. [She] was wearing a hat with a pom pom. They didn't look like the military at all."

Anastasiia Yalanskaya
Anastasiia Yalanskaya. Facebook

Yalanskaya was almost at the house of one of her friends' parents when the car was struck by a hail of bullets, the father of one of the friends told The Kyiv Independent.

Once the shooting stopped, the father ran to the vehicle and found everyone dead, the Independent reported. He then took the bodies inside his home and down to the basement, where they remained for days; due to the intense shelling, they hadn't yet been buried, the outlet reported earlier this week.

(Global News noted it had not been able to confirm how Yalanskaya died. Despite mounting reports of civilian dead, Russia has denied it targets civilian sites.)

"Not being able to help her last journey is very painful for me," her husband, now in Sri Lanka, told Global News.

The pair were separated but remained close, he told the outlet.

Anastasiia Yalanskaya
Anastasiia Yalanskaya. Facebook

"She was one of the best human beings I knew," he tells Global News. "She was committed to help, to help her friends and relatives and whoever needed help."

"She loved animals," he said of Yalanskaya. "We had a dog and a cat. She was the best partner I ever had."

Yalanskaya, an IT professional, was devoted to remaining in Ukraine to help others, according to the Global News.

Last Tuesday, Yalanskaya reportedly wrote on her Telegram account about helping 40 kindergarten children who had no food or diapers.

"We are not scared. We are united like never before. We help each other," she wrote. "We stand for hours at roadblocks and thank those who protect us. We will win."

Yalanskaya's best friend, Anastasiia Hryshchenko, told the Global News claimed that the Russians are "just randomly shooting people. They see civilians and they just shoot them. They want people to be scared and horrified. But it only makes our people braver."

Another friend, Valeriia Gorska, told Global News that "the world should know that she's a hero."

Yalanskaya "was helping people," Gorska said. "She believed in people. ... She was so strong. And she was never prouder to be Ukrainian."

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.

Related Articles