GUWAHATI: In the middle of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, an 11-year-old boy from Zaporizhzhia in southeast Ukraine crossed the nation’s border into Slovakia on his own.
According to AP, the boy travelled 1,000 kilometres alone, with a backpack, his mother’s note, a telephone number written on his hand and a passport.
He made it all the way to Slovakia from the city of Zaporizhzhia, the site of Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant which was captured by Russian forces last week.
As per reports, the boy’s mother had sent him on the 1,000-kilometre journey alone by train as she had to stay back in Ukraine to take care of a sick relative. After completing a solo journey, the 11-year-old was hailed “a hero of the night” by Slovakian authorities.
In a Facebook statement, the Slovak Ministry of Interior said that the boy won over the officials “with his smile, fearlessness and determination, worthy of a true hero”.
“He came all alone because his parents had to stay in Ukraine. Volunteers took care of him, took him to a warm place and gave him food and drink,” the statement added.
The boy’s mother reportedly sent him on the journey to Slovakia by train to find his relatives. He had a plastic bag, a passport and a message in a folded note. AP reported that when the 11-year-old arrived in Slovakia, with the piece of folded paper in his passport apart from the phone number on his hand, officials at the border were able to contact his relatives in the capital, Bratislava, and hand him over.
According to the Slovak police, the mother thanked the Slovak government and police for taking care of her son. “People with big hearts live in your small country. Please, save our Ukrainian children,” said the mother, identified as Yulia Volodymyrivna Pisecka.
The 11-year-old Ukrainian child is apparently from Zaporizhzhia in southeast Ukraine, which is home to Europe’s largest nuclear reactor, which was attacked by Russians last week, sparking concerns of a calamity far worse than Chernobyl.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has lasted 12 days, resulting in severe losses and an unprecedented refugee catastrophe.
So far, 15 lakh people have fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations.
Russia has increased its bombardment on Ukrainian cities. AFP reports that hundreds of civilians had been slain in Chernihiv, Ukraine’s northernmost city. The city is in shambles.
Residents in Mariupol have been without water and power. Russia has declared a ceasefire in the city to allow civilians to evacuate, but it is apparently being broken on a regular basis.