‘That’s what dads do’: US man goes to Ukraine for daughter

March 12, 2022 GMT

FITCHBURG, Mass. (AP) — As millions of refugees flee Ukraine, a Massachusetts man has gone to the country to help his daughter and grandson escape.

William Hubbard recently flew to Poland and crossed the border to Ukraine on foot before joining his daughter, Aislinn, and her 8-month-old son, Seraphim, at their home near Kyiv, WCVB-TV reports.

Aislinn moved to Ukraine in 2018 at age 16 to study ballet at the prestigious Kyiv Choreographic College. She tried to leave before Russia began its invasion, but her son does not have a birth certificate or passport because he was born in a home during the coronavirus pandemic.

William previously flew to Ukraine to help arrange a DNA test to prove Seraphim’s U.S. citizenship, but it was unsuccessful.

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Hubbard and his wife, Deborah, spent weeks trying to help from their home in Fitchburg. But as Russian forces advanced, William decided to make his way to Aislinn and Seraphim and help them flee.

“I did what any dad would do, I guess, in this situation,” Hubbard told WCVB-TV.

Once he was in Ukraine, Hubbard took a train to Kyiv and reunited with his daughter and grandson. They packed their belongings and four cats and said goodbye to Aislinn’s boyfriend, the father of Seraphim, who was not able to leave the country.

The three fled west, joining other refugees heading for neighboring countries. On Friday, the three were waiting at the border with Slovakia. Even without a passport for his grandson, Hubbard said he was confident they will be allowed to cross the border.

“That’s what dads do,” he said. “They take care of their family.”