The boy ‘hero’, 11, who fled Ukraine alone with a backpack, his passport and a phone number written on his hand


An 11-year-old boy who fled Ukraine alone with only a backpack, his passport and a phone number scrawled in ink on his hand has been hailed as a ‘hero’.

The youngster managed to reach the Slovakian border on his own – and was promptly called a ‘hero of the night’ by the authorities after crossing to safety.

The boy, wearing a bobble hat, had just a backpack, a plastic bag, his passport and the telephone number written on the back of his palm, according to the Slovak Ministry of Interior. The report has not been independently verified.

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“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 ministry said, The Mirror reports.

The boy hasn’t been named. Images showed him being given a hot drink and support by border officials.

The statement, posted on the ministry’s Facebook page on Sunday, said that thanks to the information written on the boy’s hand and on a piece of paper that was folded in his passport, staff at the border were able to get in touch with the boy’s relatives in Slovakia, who were then able to come and collect him.

“He won over everyone with his smile, fearlessness and determination worthy of a real hero,” the statement said.



The scrawled number on the back of his palm

It is not clear why the boy was unaccompanied, with his parents reportedly remaining in Kyiv, which is continuing to suffer extensive Russian shelling. The UN estimates that 1.5m people have left Ukraine since the outbreak of war on February 24 – that amounts to about 3.5% of the total population.

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The majority of them have fled to Poland but other counties such as Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova have also taken refugees.

Ukrainian soldiers bolstered defenses around Kyiv on Sunday, digging trenches, blocking roads and liaising with civil defense units as Russian forces bombarded the surrounding areas and attacked towns and villages nearby.

While the armed forces and civilian volunteers dug in, thousands of people continued to try to flee the city of 3.4 million as fears of a full assault spread.

Russia has concentrated its heaviest attacks on the south and east of the country, besieging cities including Mariupol and Kharkiv with artillery fire and air strikes and causing extensive damage and casualties.

Kyiv has been spared the worst of the fighting so far, but intense battles have raged in surrounding towns and villages and Russia’s defense ministry released footage on Sunday of some of its tracked military vehicles on the move near the capital.



He was given a warm drink and support

Video provided by Ukraine’s armed forces taken on Saturday in the Kyiv region, showed Ukrainian efforts to defend the capital, with piles of sandbags and concrete slabs laid across a main road, while Ukrainian soldiers carefully checked passing cars.

A smaller road was blocked by metal “hedgehog” anti-tank barriers, and machine gun positions had been erected. Molotov cocktails were lined up on the side of the road, as civilians vowed to join the battle to protect Kyiv.

“We are equipped 100%,” said an unidentified soldier in the footage. “Positions are prepared, we’ve fitted them out and we are simply waiting to meet them here… Victory will be ours.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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