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Ukrainian Cows Kidnapped, Trafficked to Russia, Police Say

A woman milks a cow in the village of Nikolayevka near Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine July 4.

Against the backdrop of blistering diplomatic tensions between Moscow and Kiev, a 172-head herd of cows has been illegally trafficked across the Russian border, the Luhansk region branch of Ukraine's Interior Ministry claimed Thursday.

The herd went missing Wednesday night from a farm in Luhansk region's Belovodsky district, Tatyana Pogukai, the head of the regional branch of the Interior Ministry, wrote on her Facebook page on Thursday.

According to Pogukai's statement, a trail of hoof tracks found near the scene clearly indicated that the herd had been spirited away to Russia.

A lone cow who was believed to have strayed from the herd was discovered one kilometer shy of the Russian border.

This is not the first time cows have injected drama into the already tense cross-border relations between Russia and Ukraine. Earlier this week, Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance criticized Crimeans'  purchase of cows from Ukraine, which the service claimed were brought into the peninsula without the proper identification and veterinary certificates, the Ukrainian National News Agency reported.

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