Published On: Tue, May 3rd, 2022

Relief and tears in an eastern Ukraine parking lot

A few people in the parking lot were uniformed servicemen waiting to meet family members who had been trapped by the fighting.

“I haven’t seen my wife for a year,” one man, dressed in military fatigues, shouted at reporters as he hugged and kissed his partner.

A less passionate, though still poignant, reunion occurred between Andriy Lutsenko, 49, and his two cats, which he’d gone to Mariupol to rescue after being forced to flee a month earlier.

“I couldn’t just leave them there,” he said.

Almost every vehicle contained at least one family pet, the animals a clear source of comfort to their owners, who held them close and cuddled them.

“This is Platon Platonich,” said 15-year-old Marina Valyera, one of four sisters in a family of six, showing off her small dog.

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