Inside an 11-Year-Old’s Solo Escape From Ukraine


BRATISLAVA, Slovakia—A decade ago, Yulia Pisetska fled Syria’s war to her native Ukraine with a 1-year-old baby in her arms. When war returned to her doorstep, as the Russian army closed in and fighting threatened a nearby nuclear-power plant, she knew it was time to once again evacuate her son, now 11.

But how? She couldn’t leave her elderly mother, stricken by dementia. Three of her other children, all teenagers, had already fled to Slovakia, where another brother, age 20, was studying. So Ms. Pisetska saw only one option: Alhasan, her youngest boy—who rarely left her side—would have to go it alone.


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