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Defiant 88-year-old man flees Russian occupation in Donetsk, refusing to obtain Russian passport

In an astonishing act of defiance, an 88-year-old Ukrainian man fled Russian occupation on foot after refusing demands to obtain Russian citizenship.
88-year-old Ivan Yakovych from Donetsk Oblast. Credit: Facebook Vadym Filashkin \ screenshot from the video
Defiant 88-year-old man flees Russian occupation in Donetsk, refusing to obtain Russian passport

Vadym Filashkin, head of the Donetsk Oblast Military Administration, reports that 88-year-old Ivan Yakovych from the village of Ocheretyne managed to escape Russian occupation on his own.

According to Filashkin, the Russian occupying forces confiscated MR. Ivan’s Ukrainian passport in an attempt to force him to obtain a Russian one instead. However, the elderly man refused and found a way to reach Ukrainian-controlled territory without renouncing his citizenship.

“All night, Mr. Ivan walked to reach some kind of crossing point. Since there was shelling, he had to wait it out. And then he continued on his way,” Filashkin wrote.

The official noted that Yakovych had only his pension certificate and a backpack with belongings, as “The Ukrainian passport was taken away from him and his neighbors by the Russians.”

Volunteers met the elderly man after he crossed into the area under Ukrainian control and assisted him in reaching the city of Pokrovsk.

Governor Filashkin said Ivan Yakovych is now being evacuated to a temporary shelter in Dnipro, after which he will be transferred to a social protection facility where he will receive housing and necessary aid.

The resolute refusal of the 88-year-old man to accept a Russian passport and his daring journey to flee occupied territory demonstrates the enduring spirit of resistance among Ukrainians in Russian-controlled areas.

“Mr. Ivan’s story is impressive. It is about civic position and love for the Motherland,” Filashkin wrote on Facebook.

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