An 11-year-old Ukrainian boy crossed the border into Slovakia on his own with just a plastic bag, his passport and a handwritten phone number, Slovak police said on Sunday.
The boy’s mother had put him on a train to Slovakia because she had to stay behind to care for her own disabled mother.
“He came alone from Zaporozhye because his parents had to stay in Ukraine,” police spokeswoman Denisa Bardyova told AFP.
Volunteers took care of the boy, who arrived on Saturday, and provided him with food and drink.
A “very grateful” mother
“I am very grateful that my child’s life was saved,” Yulia Pisetskaya, the boy’s mother, said in a Facebook video post on Sunday. “In your small country, there are people with big hearts.”
Police said on Facebook that the boy “won everyone’s hearts with his smile, his courage and his determination, worthy of a true hero”.
Local volunteers contacted the boy’s relatives in Slovakia, who picked him up and took him to Bratislava.