When the Russia-Ukraine war broke out, farmer-veterinarian Mykhailo Travetsky was given two choices — to leave the country with his family or to stay behind. Travetsky chose the latter.
This is because leaving the country also meant leaving behind 35 cows at his farm in Pryluky, Chernihiv Oblast. He takes care of breeds such as the gray Ukrainian cow, the Lybedinka cow, and the red-spotted Ukrainian cow. These are breeds only found in Ukraine. The only other place in the country where these cows are found are in Russian-occupied regions. There are also only hundreds of these cows left, so leaving them on their own amid wartime is not the best for preserving their breed.
Travetsky’s family — his wife, mother, and three kids — left the country and headed to North Ireland where Travetsky ‘s old friends gave them a place to stay. Now on his own, Travetsky is tasked by the army to provide milk for people who stayed behind with them or were left stranded. No one has money to pay him back, so he gives them his milk for free.
As his family took their car, Travetsky is left with a bicycle to get around. Another challenge is that he has to find ways around broken roads and bridges. These issues make it harder for him to acquire hay and other supplies that he needs to feed and care for his cows.
But despite the odds, he perseveres for his community. He knows his family is concerned for him, but they understand the job he has to do. Without him, his cows could die and without the cows, there would be no milk to help feed the community.