Ukrainian boy, 11, travels 700 miles alone to seek safety and find family in Slovakia

Hassan arrived in Slovakia with just a plastic bag, a passport and a phone number written on his hand. Credit: Ministerstvo vnútra SR/Facebook

An 11-year-old boy who travelled 700 miles across Ukraine by himself with just two small bags, his passport and a relative's phone number written on his hand has arrived safely in neighbouring Slovakia.

Hassan left his home and family in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia because his mum could not leave her elderly, immobile mother behind.

It was in Zaporizhzhia that Russian shelling caused a fire at a nuclear power plant last week, and for this reason the youngster's widowed mother wanted him to leave.

She put him on a train and when he finally arrived at the border he was helped across it by Slovakian officials who said he won them across with his smile.

Once in Slovakia, he used the phone number written on his hand and a note attached to his waist to contact his family who later collected him.

Hassan was cared for by volunteers and police when he made it to Slovakia Credit: Ministerstvo vnútra SR/Facebook

Slovakian officials wrote on Facebook: "He won them all over with his smile, fearlessness and determination, worthy of a true hero.

"Thanks to the number on the hand and a piece of paper in the waist, we managed to contact relatives who came for him later and the whole story ended well."

Hassan was cared for by volunteers when he arrived Credit: Ministerstvo vnútra SR/Facebook

In another post, the country's interior minister wrote: "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."

Roman Mikulec added that Slovakia is "ready to help" those fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"You will find security with us and if you ask for temporary protection, you will be provided with health care, social security, food, accommodation, education and job opportunities," he wrote on Facebook.

"The fact that you ask for temporary protection in Slovakia does not mean that you will not be able to travel to other EU countries."

The boy's mother, Julia, thanked all those who helped her son in an emotional video Credit: Ministerstvo vnútra SR/Facebook

More than two million people have fled Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, according to the UN.

According to the Slovakian ministry, the number of Ukrainian entries on the border since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine is 140,700.

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