Escaped Monkey Attacks Two-year-old Ukrainian Refugee in Russian Village

A two-year old Ukrainian refugee has been attacked by an escaped pet monkey in a Russian village, leaving her with severe injuries.

The girl, named Paulina, was playing outside of a house owned by her parents' friends in the village of Terpigorievo when the monkey attacked, pulling her to the ground from a swimming pool ladder and biting her.

Even after her family ran to save her from the animal, a CCTV video of the event shows the monkey continuing to lunge at her and grab her legs again, despite being kicked by the girl's father.

According to the U.K.'s Metro newspaper, Paulina suffered severe cuts on her arms and legs and lost a lot of blood. She is currently being treated in intensive care.

monkey in tree
Stock image of a monkey baring its teeth, a sign of aggression. A two year old child in a Russian village was attacked by an escaped monkey and severely injured. iStock / Getty Images Plus

A large number of species are classified as monkeys, ranging from the tiny 4-inch-long pygmy marmoset to the 3 foot baboons and mandrills. The species of monkey involved in the attack wasn't specified, however, CCTV footage indicated that it was around the size of a medium-sized dog and it had a long, thin tail. These traits imply that the monkey may have been a baboon, langur or a type of macaque, as they are the only monkeys that fulfil both of those requirements.

According to the World Health Organization, studies have shown that monkey bites make up between two and 21 percent of animal bite injuries. However, monkeys don't tend to be automatically aggressive, and usually only behave in such a way when triggered by certain driving factors, including the misreading of their facial expressions and body language by humans.

Research published in the journal PeerJ has shown that most of the time, what we think the animal's expressions mean is generally the opposite of what it is feeling.

Other common reasons for monkeys attacking is if a human is withholding food or threatening them, however, it doesn't appear that Pauline was doing either of these things when she was attacked.

Several other children have been attacked by monkeys in 2022 alone, including one case in India where a monkey threw a four-month-old baby off the roof of a three-storey building to his death, and another, also in India, where a five year old girl died from injuries sustained when she was attacked by a group of monkeys.

If a monkey gets to the point of biting, it may transmit various diseases, including rabies, tetanus, or even herpes B, which can be fatal to humans.

The girl's Ukrainian family had been staying with their friends, having left their country to escape the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

The monkey had escaped from a "pet zoo" owned by a millionaire living nearby, who reportedly kept a range of exotic animals, including wolves, elephants and monkeys. According to the MailOnline, the menagerie is owned by the wife of a prominent Russian lawyer. A criminal investigation into the attack is now underway, as the family made a complaint to the police.

Newsweek has contacted the local police department for comment.