Heartbreaking video shows a Ukrainian father saying goodbye to his daughter this week as he sent his family to safety while he stayed behind to defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion.
In the video, a Ukrainian father stands with his daughter in front of a train. The father opens a folded piece of paper and immediately breaks down in tears before pulling his young daughter into his arms. The two cry while hugging as a woman exits the train and joins in the tearful embrace.
The father then fixes his daughter’s hat and adjusts her pink coat before giving her a kiss on the cheek as she cries. After a moment, the father places what appears to be a necklace in his daughter’s hand. The father and daughter cry as he holds her hand to his face.
On Thursday, in response to Russian Vladimir Putin’s declaration of war and subsequent attacks, Ukraine President Volodimir Zelenskyy banned all males aged 18-60 from leaving the country.
“In particular, it is forbidden for men aged 18-60, Ukraine citizens, to leave the borders of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said in a statement, as reported by CNN. “This regulation will remain in effect for the period of the legal regime of martial law. We ask the citizens to take this information into consideration.”
Zelenskyy also tweeted that Ukraine will “give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country,” adding that citizens should “be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.”
“We’re staying home. We don’t want to leave,” said Andrew, 24, who did not want to disclose his full name due to security risks.
“I can’t leave now because last update (was that) was that guys from 18 to 68 … cannot leave borders of Ukraine,” he said. “We will stay here till Russians go home because it’s important to us to stay in our homes. We will stay with our government.”
More video shows a Ukrainian handing out arms and other equipment to civilians and troops alike.
“#Ukraine 🇺🇦: weapons being distributed among defense units in #Kyiv as locals prepare to defend the capital from the Russian invasion,” tweeted journalist Thomas van Linge.
“Today we need each and everyone of you to stay calm if you can stay at home,” Zelenskyy said on Thursday, as reported by NBC New York. “We are working, the army is working, all sector of defense and security of Ukraine is working. I will keep in touch all the time as well as security and defense council. I will talk to you soon. Don’t panic, we’re strong, we’re prepared, we will win.”