The Ukrainian man who walked 225km to safety from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has officially entered its third month and more people are fleeing the war-torn cities in order to get away from the Russian military forces. The port-city of Mariupol has sustained a lot of damage and over the course of the invasion, it has turned into a ‘ghost town’ with most of the residents moving to neighbouring cities. Igor Pedin was among the people fleeing the besieged city, but his plight took him on a 225km journey to the city of Zaporizhzhia.

Pedin, who is 61 years old, decided to escape the city with nothing more than a small bag of supplies and his nine-year-old mongrel terrier Zhu-Zhu. The long journey took him through Russian-occupied territories, and it was a miracle, according to him, that he made it to Zaporizhzhia safely.

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According to the report of The Guardian, Pedin, a former ship’s cook, decided to leave Mariupol on April 20 when Russian military had already invaded his part of the city and were ‘shooting at will’.

He packed all his belongings carefully and the next morning, he decided to travel to the outskirts of the city where he was handed food and water by the Russian soldiers positioned at the barricades before he started walking on Zaporizhzhia Road.

“I looked like a vagabond to them, I was nothing. I was dirty and covered from dust, as my house had been filled with a fog of smoke. I walked out of the city by this motorway and at the top I turned around. I looked back down at the city and I said to myself, it was the right decision. I said goodbye. There was an explosion. I turned and walked on,” Pedin told The Guardian in an exclusive interview.

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It took him a long time and a lot of hardship but he was finally able to reach the central part of Zaporizhzhia where he was given a pass by the Donetsk People’s Republic militia.