A Belgian animal shelter has taken in two young lions evacuated from Ukraine. Reuters
The animals are "extremely traumatised" and under-nourished, having not been fed for between one to two weeks, Robert Kruijff, the director of the Stiching Leeuw association that rescued them told the media.
The animals – two male lions of 3.5 and 1.5 years of age, a male six-month-old tiger and a five-year-old tigress – arrived at the Polish border in a bus filled with various other animals from war-torn Ukraine and their zoos of origin are not known.
The female tiger is in the worst shape and "we don't know if she'll survive", Kruijff said.
The animals will stay in a month-long quarantine in a refuge in the town of Anna Paulowna in the north of the country.
They are eventually due to be transferred to a reserve in South Africa, but only after regaining their strength, which could take up to a year or two, Kruijff said, according to Agence France-Presse.
The animals' transfer had been organised by the zoo in Poznan, in western Poland.
At the start of March, other big-game felines rescued from zoos in Ukraine found refuge in Spain and Belgium.
Ukraine's armed forces denied responsibility, saying Russian artillery had targeted the prison to hide mistreatment there. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday Russia had committed a war crime and called for international condemnation.
The eastern Donetsk region has faced the brunt of Russia's offensive since its assault on Kyiv failed weeks into the invasion launched on February 24.
The development came as Belarus said it had intercepted missiles fired by Kyiv and Russia reported that Ukraine launched three cluster missiles at Belgorod, killing four people.
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