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My great escape… with my cat! Wheelchair-user and his beloved pet flee war-torn Ukraine to safe haven

Some have fled the bombings, while others have sought refuge in basements, but neither is an easy option when you have a disability.

Getting to safety was made more difficult for Vitaly, a wheelchair user, because he refused to leave his cat behind.

Vitaly, a Ukrainian wheelchair user, his girlfriend Valentyna, her mother Svitlana, and their cat Timosha (pictured together in Italy) found refuge in Italy thanks to the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal, which raised £9.1 million.

But he has finally escaped Ukraine’s horror, thanks to the Red Cross, whose work is partially supported by donations from kind Daily Mail readers.

Vitaly, his fiancee Valentyna, her mother Svitlana, and their cat Timosha are from the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.

They lived on the fifth story, but the electricity went out, causing the lifts to cease working.

While other residents sought safety from the bombardments in the basement, Vitaly was not always able to join them, though compassionate neighbors would occasionally carry him there.

With no running water or heating, the family eventually decided that staying in Chernihiv was too dangerous.

On March 26, firefighters extinguished a fire caused by Russian missile strikes on infrastructure, including a fuel storage facility, in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

Humanitarian organizations assisted them in going to Kyiv, where they stayed for two days before moving to Lviv in western Ukraine.

From there, the Red Cross arranged for passage to Italy.

Ukrainian soldiers take cover behind a military armored vehicle as they make their way to the battlefield east of Kyiv.

Millions of migrants, largely women and children, have fled Ukraine and are being housed in nations around Europe on a temporary basis.

The Mail Force Ukraine Appeal, which began a month ago, has raised £9.1 million.

The initial £500,000 was provided by DMGT, the Mail’s parent company, at the request of Lord and Lady Rothermere. Donations have poured in from readers, businesses, and philanthropists since then.

Stanley Solts of Bromley, south-east London, wrote a £100 check and stated, ‘I was appalled to see the youngsters in the shelter.’

‘It reminded me of a day when I was a toddler and my mother and grandparents took me to the London Tube to avoid the Blitz in 1940.’ ‘Please continue your fantastic work.’

h/t: dailymail

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