Ukrainian mine-sniffing dog awarded medal from Zelensky after finding more than 200 explosives
A mine-sniffing dog credited with finding more than 200 explosives since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began was feted by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in a special ceremony on Sunday.
Patron, a 2 1/2-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, was awarded a medal for “Dedicated Work in the Ukraine Army.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also present at his award ceremony over the weekend.
In a video shared by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense on Twitter, Patron is seen walking into the ceremony with his handler Myhailo Iliev, who is a major in the Civil Protection Service, according to Reuters.
“In the presence of Mr. Prime Minister, I awarded our sappers today. In particular, a small but very famous sapper – Patron,” Zelensky said in a statement.
He added that Patron is “a dog who helps clean our land from the traces of the occupiers. And who also helps teach children mine safety.”
“Due to the Russian invaders, this is now one of the most urgent tasks — to teach children to recognize and avoid explosive objects. This is the ‘liberation’ from a safe life for Ukrainian children that Russia has brought to Ukraine,” he said.
Patron received his medal the day before Russia’s Victory Day, when President Vladimir Putin delivered an address blaming the West for the conflict.
According to The Guardian, the terrier — whose name means “ammo” in Ukrainian — works predominantly in and around Chernihiv, a region that has seen heavy fighting since the invasion began on Feb. 24.
Patron has become a social media star since the invasion and is regularly featured in videos on social media, where he is seen sniffing out explosives and bombs.
According to the United States Institute of Peace, mine-sniffing dogs have been used in conflict or post-conflict areas, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Colombia and Laos, to help find explosives and landmines that can pose a threat to reconstruction efforts.
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