KEY POINTS

  • Russian tanks heavily attacked Kutuzivka village while on their way to Kharkiv
  • The boy spent 3 months in a 40-by-five meter basement with his family
  • A reader came across an article about the boy and made the rescue possible

An 8-year-old boy, believed to be the last child in a ruined village in northeastern Ukraine, was finally evacuated after spending three months in a dingy basement.

The boy and his loved ones were taken to a safer place before they can travel to their final destination of Switzerland.

Tymofiy Seidov and his mother, Rita Sotnikova, had nowhere else to go and stayed hidden in the gloomy, dark, dusty 40-by-five-meter basement below the ruins of a kindergarten and medical center in Kutuzivka.

The constant shelling in the area traumatized Seidov, who began drawing pictures of tanks and monsters instead of the sun and blue skies that he used to draw before Russian forces invaded his country in February, according to CBS News.

Russian tanks heavily attacked Kutuzivka while on their way to Kharkiv. And most of the 50 remaining residents — out of the 1,500 that inhabited the village before the war began — were staying with Seidov in the dark cellar.

Seidov and his mother’s evacuation Sunday was made possible by an unidentified individual who came across a report by The Guardian about the boy. The reader had connections with Ukraine Now, a not-for-profit organisation and offered to help bring the boy and his family to safety.

After 87 days of sheltering in the basement, Seidov was terrified to leave but gave in to the persuasion of his mother and another woman in the basement.

“When we took Tymofiy out of the bomb shelter, he kept holding my hand,” Sotnikova told The Guardian. “He kept telling me ‘Mum, let’s go back inside, Mum, let’s hide, Mum, let’s not be out in the open.’”

Accompanied by his mother, his aunt Yana, 33, grandmother Lyudmyla, 57, and grandfather Mykola, 62, the boy traveled to a relatively safer area in western Ukraine. They will later travel to Zurich in Switzerland, where thousands of Ukrainians fled since the invasion of Russian forces.

"I think he is now afraid of traveling," Sotnikova told the outlet. "He cried. He was afraid of artillery shelling when we were taken from Kutuzivka to Kharkiv."

The family members saw their war-ravaged village as they left Kutuzivka.

“My mother cried all the time, all these days when we were packing she cried. She cried all the way from Kutuzivka to Kharkiv railway station. When we started to leave Kutuzivka we saw how our village was destroyed. We saw that Kutuzivka was in ruins,” Sotnikova added. “This was the first time we saw our village because all these days we were constantly in the basement. And when we went out and saw the scale of the destruction, I had a lump in my throat from pain and sadness. We had lived in our peaceful village for a long time and in one moment it has been destroyed. It was very painful for us to look at it.”

Villages around Kharkiv have been gutted and destroyed by bombs Villages around Kharkiv have been gutted and destroyed by bombs Photo: AFP / Dimitar DILKOFF