Mothers will do whatever it takes to protect their children, even if that means separating from them during wartime.
That’s a sacrifice a Ukrainian mother named Yulia Pisetskaya had to make when she put her son, Hassan, on a train going to Slovakia from Zaporizhzhia, a city attacked by Russian forces last week.
The mother of the 11-year old wanted to save at least one of her children. However, she couldn’t go with Hassan because she was unwell and needed to care for her disabled mother.
Yulia had no choice but to let Hassan go, even though it broke her heart. As his mother watched, the boy bravely boarded a train carrying only a plastic bag, his passport and a number written on his hand.
He made it to Slovakia safely, where border guards took care of him upon his arrival. Traveling over 600 miles from southeastern Ukraine alone, the police described him as a “hero.”
His hand had a phone number that belonged to his relatives in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. They located them and took Hassan into their custody. His siblings also made it to the country.
Yulia took to Facebook and thanked the Slovaks of their help in keeping her son safe.
“I am very grateful that they saved the life of my child,” she said in a video message posted on the platform and translated by The Daily Mail. “In your small country, there are people with big hearts.”
In the video, Yulia shared that she’s widowed with many children. She thanked all the volunteers and customs officers from Slovakia who took care of Hassan at the border and helped him cross.
“I am grateful you have saved my child’s life,” she said. “Next to my town is a nuclear power plant that the Russians are shooting at. I couldn’t leave my mother – she can’t move on her own.”
She ended her message with an emotional plea: “Please save our Ukrainian children.”
The Slovakian interior ministry shared Hassan’s story on Facebook, saying that he “won everybody’s hearts with his smile, fearlessness, and determination, worthy of a real hero.”
The boy was warmly embraced by police officers, soldiers, customs officers, soldiers and volunteers. They also packed food for him on his next trip.
“Thanks to the number on his hand and a piece of paper in his waist, he managed to contact his loved ones, who came for him later, and the whole story ended well,” the officials added.
In the early hours of Friday, Russian troops attacked Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, which produces around 20% of Ukraine’s electricity. Since then, they have seized control.
In an update posted on Facebook, Interior Minister Roman Mikulec commended Hassan for his “huge determination, courage, and fearlessness.”
“I am really very sorry for him and all the other children and their families who have to flee their country because of what is happening in Ukraine,” he wrote.
Minister Mikulec stated that the siblings had applied to temporary protection. Mikulec assured other Ukrainian refugees that Slovakia is available to help.
To ask for temporary protection, you would need to have access to health care and social security. You also need to have access housing, education, and food. Mikulec clarified that asking for one in Slovakia doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to travel to other EU countries.
The Slovakian Interior Ministry urged those who want to help Hassan’s mother and grandmother to contact the Association of Christian Youth Fellowships at email@example.com for ways to assist.
You can watch the video below to learn more.
We send our prayers and love to the people of Ukraine, and to all the countries that have increased their efforts for helping the evacuees.