The young boy from Zaporizhzhia - the site of the nuclear power plant which captured by Russian forces last week - crossed the border to Slovakia all alone with just a backpack, a plastic bag, a passport and a phone number written on his hand.
The boy’s mother sent him on the journey by train to live safely with relatives, while she stayed behind in Ukraine to take care of her sick mother.
Slovakian authorities praised the boy and said volunteers looked after him when he arrived, giving him food and drinks.
In a statement posted on the Slovakian ministry’s Facebook page, the Slovak Minister of Interior said: “[The boy] gained all of them with his smile, fearlessness and determination, worthy to be a true hero.”
The statement added that the boy was reunited with his relatives in Bratislava thanks to the phone number written on his hand, and a piece of paper in his passport.
In a video message, the boy’s mother, Yulia Volodymyrivna Pisecka, said she is a widow and mum to several children.
She thanked the Slovakian police and government for taking care of her son and said the custom officers “took him by the hand and helped him cross the border in Slovakia”.
She added: “I am grateful you saved my son’s life.”
As well as Slovakia, Ukrainians who have left the country are fleeing to neighbours such as Poland, Romania, Hungary and Moldova. UN figures show that Poland has taken in the largest number of refugees with 1,027,603 Ukrainians crossing the border.
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