Ukraine woman shares harrowing journey of escape from warzone with her newborn baby


Visualize evacuating from a war zone, traveling by yourself with your new child baby.

For Olga Vytvytska, and her child son Michael, this was not fiction but a harsh reality of the war in Ukraine.

“It was totally difficult … terrifying,” Vytvytska, 39, recalls. “I recognize I must depart Kyiv.”

With her good friend Olena Zaslavska, now residing in Minnesota, helping to translate, 5 EYEWITNESS News fulfilled Olga on a zoom phone from Estonia, in which she’s keeping with family.

“It was hazardous for us. All the time, we listen to bombs and shells,” Vytvytska reported.

“Missiles, rockets, yeah,” included Zaslavska. “And road fighting.”

Vytvytska’s new child little one was carrying out very well, she observed, introducing, “he sleeps in excess of me,” as she smiled and looked off-display at her sleeping son.

“She states the infant can almost certainly wake up and try out to interrupt our interview,” Zaslavska additional.

Vytvytska described how she and her husband Evgen attempted to safeguard Michael from Russian attacks with her phrases and photographs. She is looking desperately for infant system, now in brief offer.

And when the air raid sirens sounded, they took their little one down into the subways, now transformed into bomb shelters, which Vytvytska states had been frighteningly chilly.

“So Olga claimed she didn’t want to depart Kyiv,” Zaslavska translated. “But she heard that a just one-thirty day period-outdated newborn — like her son — just recently died since it was far too cold in the bomb shelter.”

By March 7, the youthful family members experienced had ample.

Vytvytska and baby Michael would be amongst the 4.6 million people today fleeing Ukraine, looking for basic safety.

They started a harrowing, 660-mile journey from Kyiv to Tallinn, Estonia, the cash town.

Olga Vytvytska’s new child.

Evgen was essential by law to stay at the rear of since, at 39-a long time-outdated, he’s of armed forces age and could be known as up to battle.

“It was very challenging due to the fact persons had been like, outrageous,” Vytvytska remembers. “I took [a] backpack with baby stuff. But it was incredibly really hard to get into the teach.”

In some way, she claims, she managed to get on board and even got a seat.

Vytvytska claims with so a lot of men and women on the packed teach, it was standing place only for additional than 10 hrs.

About 50 % the excursion was in darkness.

“For about five hours, the train had gone wholly darkish to avoid remaining seen by the Russians, so they would not bomb it,” Zaslavska translated. “She told me she tried out to feed her toddler in total darkness, and the tale was certainly horrifying.”

But close to the Polish border, strangers noticed her plight and offered to aid.

“She was fortunate more than enough since it was cars with volunteers who could get to the border, steering clear of these long lines,” Zaslavska mentioned. “Because she was with a little baby, people would allow her slash in entrance of them.”

At the time within Poland, Vytvytska stayed the night time in a refugee heart.

A cousin came to pick her and the baby up, and drove them safely to northern Estonia, in close proximity to the Finland border.

“It was tougher than I imagined,” Vytvytska reported quietly.

We asked Olena what she assumed of her friend’s journey.

“I could possibly cry,” she claims. “I’m so happy of my people who just tried to survive, attempting to protect their people today,” Zaslavska declared. “The 1 point I experience is guilt that I am below in safety, and they are there dying. I know it is irrational, but which is my feeling.”

The two females have been friends for a long time since their early 20s.

Even right after Zaslavska moved from Ukraine to Minnesota in 2016 to reside with her sister, the two retained in contact.

For her section, Vytvytska is hoping to return residence in the future handful of months.

“Absolutely, Ukraine will gain,” she says. “Absolutely, I will arrive back, back at dwelling, sure.”

“So she suggests now, we will shell out a large price tag for that, but we will survive,” Zaslavska extra.

Zaslavska now calls Minnesota her home, operating for area college districts doing tech assistance for specific desires courses. She’s relieved her close friend — and her son — managed to evacuate securely.

But she’s concerned about so a lot of many others in Ukraine who stay in harm’s way.

“You may possibly are living your harmless, joyful existence, and you by no means be expecting some thing like that to materialize, like it happened to the Ukrainian people today,” Zaslavska discussed. “So just be cautious and count your blessings.”

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