French baker has told how he travelled more than 1,700 miles to rescue the woman he loves in Ukraine.
Love-struck Marco Colas, 35, spent €4,000 (£3,355) on the night-vision goggles, bought a rucksack, medical supplies and rations, before heading off to Ukraine in a bid to save girlfriend Vladislava.
The 25-year-old trainee dental nurse is in a village encircled by the Russians on the east bank of the River Dnieper.
But when he got to Ukraine, he was captured by Ukrainian forces in the forest near the south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhya.
They believed him to be a Russian spy, he told The Times.
“I was very afraid, but I was afraid too for the life of my girlfriend, and the adrenalin and the love gave me the strength and courage to search for her,” he told the paper after being released from military custody. Sometimes love is worth risking everything for.”
Mr Colas, who does not speak any Ukrainian, said he met Vladislava as a tourist and wooed her by telling her she was beautiful.
Their romance blossomed and when Russia’s invasion began he said he felt he had no choice but to return to Ukraine to save her.
He decided the best way to reach her would be to walk 45km through the forest from Zaporizhzhya and he bought the night goggles in case the pair had to escape through the trees at night.
The journey would have taken around ten hours on foot, with the aim the pair would return to France.
However, it has not all gone to plan – as Vladislava is late to the rendezvous and she has told him she needs more time to think about it.
“I hope she really wants to escape to France with me and that our love story won’t turn into a tragedy,” he told the Times. “I am 90 per cent sure she’ll take the bus tomorrow to meet me. The other 10 per cent is too awful to think about.”
The war in Ukraine entered its 15th day after Putin’s invasion.
Horror gripped the world when Russian rockets attacked a maternity hospital in Mariupol and children were left in the wreckage, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
A six-year-old child was among three people killed after the bombing at the hospital, the city’s deputy mayor has said.
The mayor of Kyiv also revealed around two million people have now fled the capital in fear for their lives in the war-torn country.