Ukraine Student Refuses To Leave War-Torn Country Without Beloved Pet Dog

A student in Ukraine refused to escape the war-torn country without his pet dog when airlines banned his pooch from flights.

Rishabh Kaushik, a third-year computer engineering student at Kharkiv National University, was meant to fly home to Dehradun, India with his family—who own a business in Ukraine—on February 20, The Times of India reported.

At this time, tensions between Ukraine and Russia were intensifying and the family left amid fears of the invasion, Kaushik's Alma Mater SJA Alumni Association said on Facebook.

But Kaushik could not get the necessary clearances to bring his dog—Maliboo—on board with him, and so refused to leave.

"I decided then that if my dog can't leave, I won't either. I know that there is [a] risk in staying on but I can't just abandon him. Who will take care of him if I go?" he told The Times.

The news outlet said Kaushik adopted Maliboo one year ago from a local resident, who rescued him from the streets.

PLEASE HELP RISHABH KAUSHIK AND HIS BUDDYThe entire world is witnessing the war which has unfolded in Ukraine. The sound of explosions and warning...

A video posted to Facebook shows Kaushik telling his struggle so far

Since Kaushik's family left on February 19 and 20, he tried to liaise with the Indian government so that he could fly out with his dog, but to no avail.

War has been raging in Ukraine since February 24, with Russian forces continuing to penetrate the border.

The SJA Alumni Association said Kaushik was in Kyiv trying to get airline approvals when Russian forces closed in and fighting intensified in the capital city. Now, Kaushik is moving towards the Hungarian border in an attempt to escape the country with Maliboo, it said in a post on February 28. It said he should reach Hungary in the next two days.

Many Ukrainians have opted to flee the country by crossing the border into neighboring countries. Hungary's border remains open to those trying to escape. On February 25, Daily News Hungary said border crossings were operating at full capacity, and queues to cross into the country were 1.5 to three miles long.

The student rescued the dog after it was saved from a life on the streets

"I have my family members to take care of me. But for Maliboo, I am his whole family. Nobody will take care of him if I leave him here," Kaushik told The Times of India. "Even if I leave him at a dog shelter, I am sure the shelter managers will run away to save themselves if attacks intensity. I have taken his responsibility, I will take care of him no matter what happens."

Animal shelters in Ukraine have expressed fear that food for their animals will soon run out due to supply issues amid the invasion. A Kyiv-based shelter, Happy Paw, previously told Newsweek it is urging pet owners not to cast their pets out.

Kaushik's father Madhukant Kaushik told The Times of India that his son is not ready to "leave his dog behind at any cost." He said the family hopes his son will be able to exit the country and come home.

Stray dog
A stock photo shows a stray dog. The student adopted the dog, who used to live on the streets Serhii Ivashchuk/Getty Images