President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has presented Ukraine’s famous mine-sniffing dog Patron and his owner with a medal to recognise their dedicated service since Russia’s invasion.
The pint-size Jack Russell terrier has been credited with detecting more than 200 explosives and preventing their detonation since the start of the war on February 24, quickly becoming a canine symbol of Ukrainian patriotism.
Zelenskiy made the award at a news conference in Kyiv with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Patron barked and wagged his tail, prompting laughter from the audience, while Trudeau patted his pockets as though looking for a dog treat.
“Today, I want to award those Ukrainian heroes who are already clearing our land of mines,” Zelenskiy said in a statement after the ceremony.
“And together with our heroes, a wonderful little sapper – Patron – who helps not only to neutralise explosives, but also to teach our children the necessary safety rules in areas where there is a mine threat,”
The award also went to Patron’s handler, a major in the Civil Protection Service, Myhailo Iliev.