The distance between his home and his girlfriend’s was only 10 kilometers, a short distance that he covered almost every day without problems. But then came the war. In Ukraine, a man traveled 3,700 kilometers to meet the woman he loves and his parents, even though they were very close. This is Sergi Belyaev, a professional poker player, and his story was told by The Guardian.
It’s a 10-minute drive from the 32-year-old’s house in the village of Tsyrkuny to his girlfriend’s apartment in the eastern city of Kharkiv. A quick turn west on Soborna Street, via the E40 highway to the Lesia Serduika highway, and you’re there. But on February 24, it took a few hours for Russian forces to reach the village of Belyaev as they advanced towards Kharkiv, the Ukrainian city closest to the Russian border. For Belyaev, the front line suddenly came between him and his girlfriend, 28-year-old Nataliy Drozd, and his parents.
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Lesia Serduika was no longer the familiar road that led to the city, but an impassable no man’s land. Belyaev was left boisterous, worried about his ailing mother, 66-year-old Galina, and his war-frightened girlfriend. Then Belyaev had an idea, like a bet. He thought about it, first discarded it, and then made up his mind. It would have replaced the usual few minutes’ drive with a 3,700-kilometer drive through the combat zones: an odyssey, but it finally arrived.