Russia-Ukraine: Spotlight on Stunning Acts of Kindness by Ordinary People as Putin's War Drags into 4th Week

Russia-Ukraine: Spotlight on Stunning Acts of Kindness by Ordinary People as Putin's War Drags into 4th Week

As sirens went off and bombs created mushroom smokes across the skylines of Ukraine, the embattled people of the country have shown a remarkable level of resilience in a fight in which the odds are hugely stacked against them.

In the early hours of Thursday, February, 24th, 2022, the world woke to the shocking news that Russian military tanks had rolled into Ukraine in a style only akin to the same country's invasion of Poland in 1939. It is not that the invasion wasn't expected, for Russian President Vladimir Putin's rhetorics have all along suggested that an invasion was imminent.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things at the Ukraine-Polish border
Maarten Roelofs holds a placard in search of a pregnant woman called Ellen. Photo credit: Evening Standard/Lucy Young
Source: UGC

However, the entire world was still shocked when the invasion did take place because no one thought that a sovereign country like Ukraine could have its territorial integrity completely violated in the 21st century.

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Many are aware of Putin's expansionist ideas and his amorous desires towards countries within his sphere of influence, but many still believed he will not muster the moral courage to declare a full-blown war against his neighbour. But that was exactly what he did and the world is left to count the huge humanitarian cost of his egotistic, irrational military outing.

The figure and conflict

After days of shelling and relentless aerial bombardments, Ukraine has been reduced to a huge humanitarian crisis with millions of citizens fleeing their homes. According to the United Nations Refugees Council, (UNHRC), more than three million people have fled Ukraine since the first shot was fired by Russian forces 23 days ago.

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These refugees include children clutching their pets or toys, women dragging their kids, and the elderly. A new martial law in Ukraine requires all males between the ages of 18 and 60 to stay back and fight the intruding Russians.

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But in the midst of the chaos, very heroic acts of kindness have been recorded within and outside Ukraine, especially in countries where Ukrainians are running to for refuge. The chaotic situation in Ukraine has brought out the best part of some persons who have helped to rekindle hope in humanity. From Ukraine to Germany, to Poland it has been tales of one act of kindness or the other.

Nataliya Ableyeva

Beginning with Nataliya Ableyeva, a total stranger who did something considered a heroic act of kindness towards a family boxed into a security cul de sac. A Ukrainian father was trying to find a way to send his children out of the danger zone that Ukraine has become. However, he was unable to leave the country owing to a new law mandating all males from the ages of 18 and 60 to stay back in the country and fight. The father found himself needing someone to help since he won't be allowed to leave the country with his children.

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Natalia hands of the children at the Hungary border
Natalia in a warm embrace with the children's mother. Photo credit: Reuters
Source: UGC

Along comes Nataliya Ablyeva, a woman that could be called a God-sent. She took the man's two children out of Ukraine and handed them over to their mother who was coming to the Ukraine-Hungary border from Italy. After handing over the two kids to their mother, Ableyeva said:

"Their father simply handed over the two kids to me, and trusted me, giving me their passports to bring them over."

The children's mother Anna Semyuk, on her part, could not hide her emotions the moment her children were delivered to her by a total stranger. She said:

"All I can say to my kids now, is that everything will be alright. In one or two weeks, and we will go home."

But it is now close to a month after the invasion, and Anna and her children have not been able to return to their home as she had envisaged. Instead more people have fled Ukraine. And more stories of heroic acts have also emerged.

The beautiful people of Berlin and Poland

In Germany, where many of the refugees have fled to, residents of Berlin have been seen in their thousands going to train stations to look for those who they can accommodate. The kind residents were seen with signposts, indicating that they have rooms to accommodate the fleeing people of Ukraine.

Berlin residents offer free shelter to Ukrainians fleeing Putin's war
The Berlin residents held signposts indicating that they have free rooms for Ukrainians. Photo credit: @reuters and Getty Images/Mikhail Klimentyeve
Source: UGC

At the Polish border where most of the refugees have fled, it has been one act of kindness or the other towards fleeing Ukrainians. A man named Maarten Roelofs travelled all the way from the Netherlands to receive a pregnant woman he had never met and bring her to safety.

The refugee is a 33-weeks pregnant woman called Ellen. Maarten only knows Ellen as the wife of his former employee as he only relied on a photograph to carry out the mission. Ellen's husband had turned to Maarten for help.

Maarten's is only one of a hundred other kind acts that have emerged at the Polish border since the outbreak of the Russian war on Ukraine. There is a story of a British man named Tom Littledyke, 31, who drove his car all the way from the UK to the Polish border, and then into Ukraine to deliver help.

Tom said his original intention was to deliver relief materials to refugees at the Polish border. He however decided to make the journey all the way into Ukraine where he then used his car to bring people from Lviv to the border. Tom said:

"The plan wasn't to come into Ukraine but at midnight I met some reporters on the border in Poland and they gave me some useful tips...
..[They] told me about a train station where people needed to be ferried to and from the border. So I made the decision to pop over."

11-year-old Hassan

In another act of heroism since the outbreak of the war, a boy travelled all the way from Ukraine to Slovakia all by himself without a guardian. The boy named Hassan, 11, left his home, mother, and grandmother in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine and set out on a journey to find peace all alone. His mother put him on a train and stayed back in Ukraine. The woman said:

"Next to my town is a power plant that the Russians are shelling. I couldn't leave my mum - she can't move by herself - so I sent my son to Slovakia."

Hassan has since arrived in Slovakia and reunited with other family members.

Hassan, 11 left mum in Ukraine and traveled alone to Slovakia to escape Russian invasion of Ukraine
Hassan has been called a hero for his courage. Photo credit: BBC/Slovak Interior Ministry
Source: UGC

Animals too get helped out of danger

Animals are getting rescued from Ukraine in the light of the war going on in the country.

First, a charitable organisation has rescued 93 bats from the risk of being killed by bombs. They are now being sheltered in refrigerators.

Also, a brave woman drove into Ukraine to retrieve her French bulldogs. The 53-year-old woman named Olena Lukash already fled Kyiv to the Polish border with 20 of her dogs. But she had to make the journey back into Ukraine to bring the remaining 30.


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