(Reuters) – In the middle of the bloody battle for control of Bakhmut, a strategic town in eastern Donetsk region, Ukrainian soldiers found comfort and joy in caring for two puppies they rescued from a frontline village.

Black and Red, two newborns barely able to stand on their feet were found recently by Valeriia and Oleksii, soldiers of the Territorial Defence Unit operating in the area since September, shortly after it was recaptured by Ukrainian forces.

The motherless puppies were barely alive when the soldiers’ unit entered the village, abandoned by its residents after their homes were raised to the ground by fighting in what has become one of the longest-running battles in Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The first few days Valeriia and Oleksii, had to use a syringe to feed the puppies, after a few days Black and Red switched to military rations and now enjoy the staple meal of stewed meet and potatoes.