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11-year-old Ukrainian boy flees to safety in Slovakia by himself

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An 11-year-old Ukrainian boy identified only as Hassan, has become an instant hero after fleeing his war-torn country by himself to Slovakia to meet some relatives.

The young Hassan who had only a plastic bag, a passport and a telephone number written on his hand, traveled roughly 620 miles by train from Zaporizhzhia, the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, to Slovakia to meet relatives, according to Slovak officials on Wednesday.

In a video posted on Facebook, Hassan’s mother, Yulia Pisetskaya, who said she is a widow, explained that she was unable to leave Zaporizhzhia because she had to stay with her sick mother, who cannot move on her own.

“I am very grateful that they saved the life of my child. In your small country, there are people with big hearts … Please save our Ukrainian children and give them a safe haven,” she said.

Once Hassan had safely crossed over the border, volunteers and Slovak authorities “kept him warm and provided him with food and water, which they packed for his next trip,” Slovakia’s Interior Minister, Roman Mikulec, said on Facebook.

READ ALSO: Close to 4,000 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine war

“Authorities used the telephone number written on the boy’s hand to contact his relatives, and they were reunited,” Mikulec said.

“Little Hassan is only 11 years old, but in his way he has shown huge determination, courage and fearlessness that sometimes adults don’t have.

“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 won everybody’s heart with his smile, fearlessness and determination worthy of a real hero,” Mikulec said after meeting the boy.

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