By WCVB Staff
FITCHBURG, Massachusetts (WCVB) — A Massachusetts man whose daughter and infant grandson were stuck in war-torn Ukraine said he was able to get his family out of the country.
Dr. William Hubbard, of Fitchburg, said he, his daughter, Aislinn, her boyfriend, and his 8-month-old grandson, Seraphim, crossed the border into Slovakia after hiking hours through the mountains.
Aislinn Hubbard, 19, has been in Ukraine for years after she was invited to study ballet at Kyiv Choreographic College in 2018.
She gave birth to Seraphim at home during a surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the child does not have a birth certificate or a passport and lacks the necessary documentation to cross the Ukrainian border.
Hubbard said he has a DNA test that proves Aislinn is Seraphim’s mother and that officials have access to birth photos.
Aislinn Hubbard and her boyfriend, who is Seraphim’s father, resided about 18 miles from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and 300 miles from an international border, and they do not own a vehicle.
Before the fighting started in Ukraine, Hubbard and his wife, Deborah, spent weeks trying to get Aislinn and Seraphim out of the country, but to no avail.
Hubbard returned to the country after the war began and spent weeks trying to help them leave the war zone.
“The Ukrainians were just making things difficult because we were foreigners, so automatically their mind went to the worst place and thought we were trying to steal a baby out of the country, and we were left with no other alternative than to devise a plan to get out of the country on our own,” Hubbard said in a virtual interview Monday morning from Slovakia.
Hubbard said the family planned their route through the mountains using satellite maps. Once they crossed the border, Hubbard said his daughter, grandson and boyfriend presented themselves to Slovakian authorities.
“The amazing thing was is that the Slovakian authorities were able to provide them with documents in a few hours that our government could provide for months and the Ukrainians were unwilling to provide,” Hubbard said.
The family plans to drive across Europe, with the eventual goal of reaching Portugal.
“We will present ourselves to the American Embassy in Lisbon at that point, and there will be two new DNA tests one for the boyfriend and one for my daughter, and they should be able to get all the rest of the documents within the next three or four weeks,” he said.
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