From Mariupol to Kiev on foot – Ukraine family’s epic escape

From Mariupol to Kiev on foot – Ukraine family’s epic escape

From Mariupol to Kiev on foot – Ukraine family’s epic escape

As Russian bombings decimated their homeland of Mariupol, Yevgen and Tetiana determined that they could only flee on foot with their four children.

Speaking to AFP Friday in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia as they awaited a train westward, the family recalled their remarkable 125-kilometer (80-mile) walk to safety through tears and laughter.

For weeks as the bombardment destroyed Mariupol, the parents attempted to prepare their children Yulia, 6, Oleksandr, 8, Anna, 10, and Ivan, 12, for the treacherous trek ahead.

“We told to them where we would go for two months while we were in the cellar… We acclimatized them to this lengthy voyage “Tetiana Komisarova, 40, stated.

“They viewed it as a thrilling experience.”


They finally felt the moment had come to make their move last Sunday, along with her spouse Yevgen Tishchenko, a 37-year-old technician.

They escorted the youngsters out of their building nervously. It was the first time since the Russian invasion began on February 24 that they had all left together.

They discovered a terrible scene of absolute devastation all around them.

“When the children noticed, they went quietly,” Yevgen explained.

“I have no idea what was going through their minds. Perhaps they, too, couldn’t believe our city had vanished.”

The family traveled for five days and four nights, passing past multiple Russian checkpoints, informing the troops that they were on their way to see relatives.


“They did not regard us as adversaries; they attempted to assist,” Yevgen explained.

“However, each time they inquired, ‘Where are you from? Are you from Mariupol? However, why are you moving in this route and not going to Russia?'”

At night, the family slept at the houses of local residents who graciously opened their doors and fed them.

They continued their journey throughout the day, against all difficulties.

They eventually saw Dmytro Zhirnikov while traveling through Polohy, a Russian-occupied village located around 100 kilometers from Zaporizhzhia.

“I spotted this family driving a cart alongside the road,” said Zhirnikov, who travels to Zaporizhzhia on a regular basis to sell the vegetables his family grows.


“I came to a halt and instructed them to place their belongings in my trailer.”

Tetiana, Yevgen, and their little children completed their trek in Dmytro Zhirnikov’s old vehicle after walking 125 kilometers.

They then want to relocate to Ivano-Frankivsk, another significant city in western Ukraine, in order to attempt a return to normalcy.


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