Sisters flee Ukraine amid Russia invasion, document journey to Portugal on Reddit: 'We did it. We crossed the border'

·3 min read
Ukrainian sisters document their journey to Portugal amid Russia invasion. (Photo: Reddit/Olya_roo)
Ukrainian sisters document their journey to Portugal amid Russia invasion. (Photo: Reddit/Olya_roo)

A pair of Ukrainian sisters embarked on a journey to leave the city of Kharkiv after the Russian invasion and reunite with their father in Portugal, documenting their experience on Reddit.

Chloe and Alex, who declined to share their last name or ages over privacy concerns, posted a photo with their mother on Feb. 24 sharing that their city was "starting to get bombed."

A photo of the girls with their mom before they evacuated. (Photo: Reddit/Olya_roo)
A photo of the girls with their mom before they evacuated. (Photo: Reddit/Olya_roo)

"Last photo of my family before me and sister are moving," Chloe wrote on her account, where she goes by Olya_roo, explaining in the comments that her father was stuck in Portugal. At the time, the sisters didn't know where they would be heading. But, Chloe tells Yahoo Life that they were prepared to leave as soon as the invasion happened.

"We decided to start gathering the 'warning bags' four days before Russians started bombing my city," Chloe says via Reddit messaging. "We got woken up at 4:00 a.m., gathered the rest and left at 7:00 a.m."

The sisters were picked up by family friends before they began driving "god knows where."

"Dad still doesn't know [we're coming]," Chloe continued to update in the Reddit comments. "But planes are banned from flying to Ukraine. Worst - he was supposed to be here in like 5 days."

Chloe explains that she was posting to Reddit to update her group of friends with who she regularly communicates on the platform. She also saw an opportunity to communicate to people elsewhere about what Ukrainians were going through. "Decided to try while I could [to] alert Americans and others what was happening."

People in the comments section began to offer aid and refuge to the girls, asking if they needed a place to stay if they were headed to Portugal. "We have a place. Rented and paid for, with furniture," Chloe responded.

Despite being so responsive on the platform, Chloe says that she and Alex were "shocked, scared and nervous" until they reached a more stable location.

"Me and my sister after 3 days ride, hoping to cross to Poland tomorrow," they posted to Reddit with a selfie.

It was then that Chloe explains she "tried to go back to my normal thinking to not go crazy."

Two days later on Feb. 28, people following their journey were met with an update, reading, "We did it. We crossed the border."

The girls answered questions from commenters, explaining that their mom was still in Kharkiv to look after their grandparents and pets while they waited for their dad to meet them at the border in Portugal. A few hours later, they were safe with their father.

Chloe updated her Reddit followers once she reunited with her dad. (Photo: Reddit/Olya_roo)
Chloe updated her Reddit followers once she reunited with her dad. (Photo: Reddit/Olya_roo)

"The end of my journey — me and my sister reunited with our father," Chloe wrote.

The sisters have since updated followers while waiting for their mom to join them in Portugal. Still, they're unsure if she ever made it out of Kharkiv. They also posted a photo of the destruction in their hometown.

A photo from Chloe's hometown. (Photo: Reddit/Olya_roo)
A photo from Chloe's hometown. (Photo: Reddit/Olya_roo)

While Chloe says she's unsure of how long she and her sister will be in Portugal, she tells Yahoo Life that she's had some communication with friends who are remaining in Kharkiv. As people come to her Reddit page for updates on the crisis, she encourages them to root for those who are still suffering in Ukraine.

"Better to [root] for my country than the two girls who are now in warmth. Support the people like my mom or her friends, who are now working without payment, tirelessly, just to save more of our people," she wrote. "If it wasn't for people like this, we wouldn't be alive."

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