In the midst of the Russian war in Ukraine, an 11-year-old Ukrainian boy crossed to Slovakia after traveling 1,000 km alone, with a backpack, his mother’s note and a phone number written on his hand.
The boy was from Zaporizhzhya in southeastern Ukraine, the site of a power plant captured by Russian forces last week. According to reports, his parents had to stay in Ukraine to care for a sick relative.
After completing an incredible journey, he won over the officials “with his smile, fearlessness and determination, worthy of a true hero,” the Slovak interior ministry said in a Facebook post calling him “last night’s greatest hero”.
According to reports, the boy’s mother sent him by train to Slovakia to look for his relatives. He had a plastic bag, a passport and a message in a folded note.
When the boy arrived in Slovakia with the folded piece of paper in his passport, except for the phone number on his hand, border officials were able to contact his relatives in the capital Bratislava and extradite him.
According to reports, the boy’s mother sent a message thanking the Slovak government and police for taking care of him.
The Slovak Interior Ministry posted a response to the boy on Facebook, praising his “dauntless and determination”.
“With a plastic bag, passport and phone number written on his hand, he came all alone because his parents had to stay in Ukraine,” the ministry said.
“The volunteers happily took care of him, taking him to a warm place and providing him with food and drink, which they packed for him on his next journey.”
The post, by an official from the Slovak ministry, said: “Thanks to the number on the hand and a piece of paper at the waist, I managed to contact relatives who later came to get him and the whole story turned out well”.