Two Captured Ukrainian Sailors Reunited: One Human, One Dog
"When Russian border guards came on board she hid somewhere. When they were signing some documents she bit one of them," Chuliba said of his dog, Jessie
“We came to Nova Kakhovka. He used to work as a cab driver, so at the entrance of the city, we were met with a cab parade. Lots of cars, flags, and signaling. Our boys were waiting for our son together. ‘Do you think I’m proud of him?’ Of course, I am!” Chuliba’s mother, Liubov Chuliba said.
Chuliba was one of 24 sailors who were captured by the Russian Federation at the Kerch Strait in November 2018 while they were on their way to the port of Mariupol transferring between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Chuliba, along with the other 23 sailors were recently released in a prisoner swap with Russia.
Among those waiting for Chuliba’s return home was his dog, Jessie. In fact, Jessie had served with him on the tugboat.
Jessie – who was a former stray dog – had lived with Chuliba’s parents for the past month. The sailors called her the 25th crew member.
“When Russian border guards came on board she hid somewhere. When they were signing some documents she bit one of them,” Chuliba said.
After the boat was captured, Jessie was left behind by herself for a week. But soon afterward she was found and handed over to the Russian FSB, who locked her away. Eight months later, she was finally liberated and taken in by Chuliba’s family. He said that Jessie is a natural sailor. Her mother also served in the Navy.
“She was fed milk with a dropper. Jessie was really small, and now look how big she is!”
While Chuliba is on a vacation his mother decided to fatten him up.
“He wanted meat and borsht. I made everything for him! But I have to say, no one ate the borscht. Really, who’s going to eat soup when there is meat?”
After his vacation, Chuliba will continue to serve. He plans to take Jessie with him again.
“She is part of the crew. When we were taken captive our commander was asked how many people we had on board. He said – 10 men and a dog,” Chuliba said.
Chuliba is planning to visit all his relatives and said that soon he will be marrying his sweetheart.