Ukraine: Girl, 15, leads civilians to safety after being shot in the legs

Ukrainian girl, 15, in the back of an ambulance (Image: Telegram)

She had to get behind the wheel after an exploding grenade seriously injured the driver (Image: Telegram)

A young Ukrainian girl has been hailed online as a “hero” after leading wounded civilians to safety despite being shot in the legs by Russian forces in the Donetsk region.

The 15-year-old was too young to drive in Ukraine and was forced to get behind the wheel of a car after an exploding shell seriously injured the driver.

She, along with three men and a woman, were fleeing fierce fighting in the town of Popasna when their vehicle came under enemy fire for the second time.

In a video shared on messaging app Telegram, the teenager, whose name was not given, recounts her dangerous 20-mile journey through a minefield to reach a hospital, the Daily Mail reports.

“I was in the car and the Russians were shooting at us,” she said from an ambulance after paramedics bandaged her arm and bleeding leg.

“One man was wounded, two injured by debris – one very badly – so I had to get behind the wheel and drive to Bakhmut.

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“Everyone survived. But two of us were pierced by bullets, I and Uncle Zhenya. We needed help not to lose a lot of blood.”

When asked if she could drive, the teen said her mother had taught her since she was seven.

In this way, she managed to maneuver the mines, which were set up like a chessboard on a bridge.

“It was impossible to drive past them, but somehow I made it,” she added. “There was a body of a woman [on the road]I passed her too.

“Then I turned right and we were shot at. I was injured in my legs, there wasn’t much I could do.

Ukrainian girl, 15, in the back of an ambulance (Image: Telegram)

She recalled the treacherous journey from the back of an ambulance (Image: Telegram)

“The car stopped, I hardly started it. We drove on, it stopped again because the battery was pierced by a bullet.’

Her “selflessness and bravery” were praised on social media after Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry posted the clip on Twitter.

Popazna in eastern Ukraine has become the focus of Russia’s attempt to gain territory.

Around 2,000 civilians are believed to be trapped by fighting at the front lines.

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, said today his troops have taken control of large parts of the city.

“The city’s main streets and central neighborhoods have been completely cleared,” he said.

There was no immediate reaction from Ukraine, but last night Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, confirmed that heavy fighting around Popasna is ongoing.

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Justin Scacco

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