A boy from Zaporizhzhia, southeast Ukraine, was hailed “a hero of the night” by Slovakian authorities after they said he crossed Ukraine's border into Slovakia on his own.
The 11-year-old was carrying a backpack, a plastic bag and a passport, and had a telephone number written on his hand, according to the Slovak Ministry of Interior. CNN could not independently verify those statements.
He came all alone because his parents had to stay in Ukraine. Volunteers took care of him, took him to a warm place and gave him food and drink,” the ministry said.
The statement, posted on the ministry’s Facebook page Saturday, said that thanks to the information written on the boy’s hand and on a piece of paper that was folded in his passport, the staff at the border were able to get in touch with the boy’s relatives in Slovakia who were then able to come and collect him.
“He won over everyone with his smile, fearlessness and determination worthy of a real hero,” the statement said. It is unclear why the boy was unaccompanied.
CNN could not independently verify this individual case but more than 1.2 million refugees have now left Ukraine since February 24, according to the UN as of March 3. Of the 1,209,976 refugees who have fled, a majority of them, 53.7%, crossed into Poland.
Others have gone to countries including Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania.