98-Year-Old Walks 6 Miles to Safety in Ukraine—in Slippers

Lidia Stepanivna Lomikovska was separated from family, walked alone with her cane
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 1, 2024 2:30 AM CDT
Woman, 98, Walks 6 Miles to Safety in Ukraine—in Slippers
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian National Police of Donetsk region, 98-year-old Lidia Lomikovska sits in a shelter after she escaped Russian-occupied territory in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Apil. 26, 2024. L   (Ukrainian National Police of Donetsk region via AP)

A 98-year-old woman in Ukraine who escaped Russian-occupied territory by walking almost 6 miles alone, wearing a pair of slippers and supported by a cane, has been reunited with her family days after they were separated while fleeing to safety, the AP reports. Lidia Stepanivna Lomikovska and her family decided to leave the frontline town of Ocheretyne, in the eastern Donetsk region, last week after Russian troops entered it and fighting intensified. Russians have been advancing in the area, pounding Kyiv's depleted, ammunition-deprived forces with artillery, drones, and bombs. "I woke up surrounded by shooting all around—so scary," Lomikovska said in a video interview posted by the National Police of Donetsk region.

In the chaos of the departure, Lomikovska became separated from her son and two daughters-in-law, including one, Olha Lomikovska, injured by shrapnel days earlier. The younger family members took to back routes, but Lydia wanted to stay on the main road. With a cane in one hand and steadying herself using a splintered piece of wood in the other, she walked all day without food and water to reach Ukrainian lines. Describing her journey, the nonagenarian said she had fallen twice and was forced to stop to rest at some points, even sleeping along the way before waking up and continuing her journey.

Pavlo Diachenko, acting spokesman for the National Police of Ukraine in the Donetsk region, said Lomikovska was saved when Ukrainian soldiers spotted her walking along the road in the evening. They handed her over to the "White Angels," a police group that evacuates citizens living on the front line, who then took her to a shelter for evacuees and contacted her relatives. "I survived that war," she said referring to World War II. "I had to go through this war too, and in the end, I am left with nothing. That war wasn't like this one. I saw that war. Not a single house burned down. But now—everything is on fire."

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.