As the violence unfolds between Ukraine and Russia, one young boy waved goodbye to his father as he fled the danger. He explained why his dad stayed behind with tears rolling down his face.
The heartbreak in Mark Goncharuk's voice was undeniable as he shared his account of the past few days. When Russian forces invaded Ukraine, Goncharuk was forced to leave his Kyiv home and father.
His grief and sadness epitomize what hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians faced from February 24 onwards. They were separated from their families, and life as they knew it changed forever.
A young Ukrainian boy cries as he flees the danger in his home country | Source: youtube.com/NBC News
HE IS HELPING OUR HEROES
Women and children grabbed what they could and made their way to safety as men between 18 and 60 were enlisted to help defend the country. Goncharuk's father was one of those men.
The emotional youngster said: "We left our dad in Kyiv. He's helping our heroes. He might even have to fight."
Goncharuk wipes away his tears as he flees Ukraine | Source: youtube.com/NBC News
FEAR IN HIS EYES
Goncharuk shared that he had been walking toward the Polish border for hours and thought he would have to walk for days to reach safety.
Thankfully he was rescued and gave a brief smile to the Finnish journalist interviewing him. Wiping away the tears, the innocent boy could not hide the fear in his eyes.
A girl cries as she leaves her home country of Ukraine and moves to a safer area | Source: youtube.com/NBC News
THE ONLINE REACTION
As more people flee the war-struck areas, many netizens stand in solidarity with Ukrainians. People have donated money, and others shared support online. One user wrote: "I am so very sorry. My heart goes out to you helpless baby boy and family!"
Another added: "No child should ever have to go through the pain of separation from a mum or dad!" The user ended their comment with a plea that many are also hoping for—a plea for peace.
MORE LOVED ONES SEPARATED
Sadly, Goncharuk is only one of many children who have been traumatized by the war in Ukraine. Wives are also devastated after leaving their husbands to face dangers they have not been prepared for.
One Ukrainian woman who fled to eastern Poland, Kateryna Leontieva, was emotional as she stated: "The tears are just coming. I didn't feel anything, but now I'm starting to realize. I hope it's just a short trip, and we'll be back soon."
PRAYING FOR UKRAINE
When asked how she felt about leaving her husband behind to fight, she expressed her fears, holding back more tears. However, she added that she was praying for the Ukrainian men.
Leontieva, Goncharuk, and the many other Ukrainians who have loved ones fighting on the frontlines will continue to watch and wait for news on their safety. For now, they continue to hope and believe that their family members and country will be okay.
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