phone number written on 11-year-old Ukrainian refugee's hand
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Boy, 11, Reunites With Family After Fleeing Ukraine Alone On 700-Mile Train Ride

Ever since Russian forces began invading Ukraine on February 24, the Ukrainian people have been left with two difficult options.

Either they stay and try to make their uncertain and perilous situation as livable for each other as possible or they face the other potential dangers that come from escaping.

But what is there to be done when you have a child that you need to protect from the conflict while you also need to care for relatives that likely won't survive it without you?

For one mother, the only option was to hope that her young son could make it out on his own and she is now relieved to know that he accomplished exactly that.

Last week, Yulia Pisetskaya of Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine could tell that something ominous was about to unfold.

11-year-old boy holding cup in Slovakia after fleeing Ukraine
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As Insider reported, this was because that city hosts the largest power plant in Europe, which made it a target for Russian forces.

Although it was clear to her that this made the city unsafe, she said in a Facebook post translated by The Guardian that her mother wouldn't be able to flee due to a disability.

And since she didn't feel she could leave her behind, she instead decided to give her 11-year-old son a chance at safety.

This meant that she would have to put him on a train in the city and that he would have to make the resulting 700-mile journey alone.

phone number written on 11-year-old Ukrainian refugee's hand
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Harder still for the child was the fact that he would have to make the trip with only his passport, the contents of a simple plastic bag, and a phone number that Pisetskaya had written on his hand.

As authorities in Slovakia would later discover, this number would serve as the key reuniting the boy with his relatives in the host nation's capital of Bratislava.

Fortunately, upon arriving in Slovakia on March 4, he found immediate support from border guards and volunteers.

Slovak police officer escorting 11-year-old boy holding plastic bag
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According to a Facebook statement from Slovakia's interior ministry, they immediately made sure the boy was warm, well-fed and hydrated before using the phone number on his hand and a piece of paper at his waist to track down his relatives.

As the nation's Interior Minister Roman 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."

After contact was established, the boy's relatives have since picked him up and brought him home.

11-year-old boy being cared for by Slovak aid workers after escaping Ukraine
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In a video message, Pisetskaya has since expressed her relief and gratitude, saying, "I am very grateful that they saved the life of my child. In your small country, there are people with big hearts." 

h/t: Insider