Small dog helps locate mines in Ukrainian region of Chernihiv after Russian retreat

Ukrainian officials shared footage of a small terrier named Patron who has been credited with helping officials find unexploded landmines and artillery shells following Russia’s invasion of the country and recent retreat of some cities. 

Ukraine’s State Emergency Service (SES) on Monday released a video showing Patron, who appears to be a Jack Russell terrier breed, helping officials in the northern Chernihiv region. The release coincided with the United Nations’ International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, also on April 4, which seeks to highlight the safety and economic threats such explosive remnants bring to war-torn areas. 

The Russian military pulled back from the capital of Kyiv in recent days, and the Ukrainian military said its forces had also retaken some towns in the Chernihiv region and humanitarian aid was being delivered. 

As a result, Ukraine’s SES issued several warnings about mines and detailed some different types people may come across — as well as information about unexploded mortar shells. People were urged to keep away from explosives and to alert authorities.

patron the dog

Patron the dog is pictured in provided footage from Ukraine’s State Emergency Service released on April 4, 2022. Credit: SES Ukraine via Storyful

In previous videos shared by the SES, the little militant dog has been shown in action. On March 19, it wrote that Patron had helped to clear almost 90 explosive devices, according to an English translation of the post. 

"Thank you, my friend, for your tireless work," the SES wrote in part of the dog.


Patron the dog is pictured in provided footage from Ukraine’s State Emergency Service released on April 4, 2022. Credit: SES Ukraine via Storyful

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Meanwhile, Russia’s retreat from some Ukrainian cities also revealed evidence of atrocities. Images of battered bodies out in the open or in hastily dug graves led to calls for tougher economic sanctions against the Kremlin, namely a cutoff of fuel imports from Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy left Kyiv for his first reported trip since the war began nearly six weeks ago to see for himself what he called the "genocide" and "war crimes" in the town of Bucha, the site of some of the horrors.

"Dead people have been found in barrels, basements, strangled, tortured," said Zelenskyy, who again called on Russia to move quickly to negotiate an agreement to end the war.


Ukainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) speaks to the press in the town of Bucha, northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, on April 4, 2022. (Photo by RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

European leaders and the United Nations human rights chief condemned the bloodshed, some of them also branding it genocide, and U.S. President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin should face a war crimes trial.

"This guy is brutal, and what’s happening in Bucha is outrageous," said Biden, who also promised to increase sanctions against Moscow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the scenes outside Kyiv as a "stage-managed anti-Russian provocation." The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected allegations of atrocities as fakery on Ukraine's part.

Lavrov said the mayor of Bucha made no mention of atrocities a day after Russian troops left last week, but two days later scores of bodies were photographed scattered in the streets.

Ukrainian officials said the bodies of 410 civilians were found in towns around Kyiv that were recaptured from Russian forces in recent days.

In Bucha, northwest of the capital, Associated Press journalists saw 21 bodies, including a group of nine in civilian clothes who appeared to have been shot at close range. At least two had their hands tied behind their backs. A bag of groceries was spilled by one of the dead.

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.