A brave 12-year-old girl has left war-torn Ukraine alone to try to reach her foster family in Spain, to escape the carnage of the Russian attack on her country.
Nikol Makarova lived in Kyiv with her family. However, when Russia invaded Ukraine, her mum knew she had to get the youngster out to safety.
Little Nikol travelled the first few kilometres out of the capital with her grandmother and completed her journey to the Ukraine-Moldova border all on her own.
Her family paid the equivalent of EUR 4,770 for her to be taken to the border by bus, travelling alongside four families she did not know.
She is now all alone in Moldova with just her birth certificate and no passport while her Spanish foster family tries to bring her to their home in Gijon.
Nikol has already spent several summers in the northern Spanish city as part of the ‘Vacaciones en Paz’ (‘Holidays in Peace’) project, which the COVID-19 pandemic ended.
Her foster mum Paula Parrondo told the Spanish radio Onda Cero: “We want the girl to come to Spain, she has her home here. We are trying to contact the Spanish consulate in Moldova.”
Nikol is currently being taken care of by a young woman named Cristina, whom Paula found through an NGO, while she works out how to bring her to Spain.
It is not an easy task, given there are no flights between the two countries and Nikol’s lack of documentation will make it hard for her to cross over into Romania.
Paula and her family are even considering reaching the youngster by car themselves if they cannot find another alternative.
The foster mum told El Comercio: “I can’t imagine what it must be like to send your daughter alone to the other side of the world in the middle of a war.”
In recent developments, Ukraine and Russia have agreed to create humanitarian corridors. However, there has been no breakthrough yet on a ceasefire.