Ukrainian wildlife charity store hibernating bats in fridge as they flee Russian ...
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Ukrainian wildlife charity volunteers who had to store hibernating bats in their kitchen refrigerators during Russian bombing have set them free.

The Bats Ukraine team had to find a way to keep the creatures cool and dark so their hibernation wasn't interrupted early, while shelling continued in Kharkiv.

This week, they began their mission to release 93 of the rescued bats, which they recovered from a building site in Dnipro when Russia invaded last month.

Many of the small bats were released by the team as air-raid sirens sounded in the background.

A spokesperson for the rescue team said: “Immediately after we left the office our city was being heavily bombarded.

“But we are safe and alive, and took care of our bats on rehabilitation.

"Now the warm weather has finally come, we are releasing groups of bats each evening this week – they will easily find a way to the nearest forests.

"No living creature is safe now in this part of Ukraine. But for our bats, it is the best option - to fly and to live."

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been ongoing for more than a month. Over 3 million people have fled the country to safety – some heading for the UK.

But, many others have also remained to fight. One clip showed Ukrainians in Odessa listening to Bon Jovi as they made preparations to fight the Russians.

After hibernating through the trauma in the fridges, the rescued nocturnal bats recently woke for spring.

Since waking they have been fed to get their weight and strength back up before being released.

The Bats Ukraine team will release dozens more of the rescue bats over the next few days.

It has rescued over 3,000 bats this winter, thanks to its team of volunteers, vets and biologists – and is the only emergency bat rescue charity in Ukraine.

You can support the charity by donating at www.patreon.com/batsukraine or see more of their work at @bats_ukraine on Instagram.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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