Story By: Gheorghi Caraseni, Sub Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Central European News
The mother of a severely disabled man with no feet who vanished in November has been told he has been spotted thousands of miles away in Russia where he is trying to make it to a city on the Chinese border.
Viorel Matsko, 39, originally from the Moldovan capital Chisinau, lost 7 fingers and a thumb as well as booth feet as a result of frostbite over a decade ago, and his worried parents reported he was missing in November last year.
But now Matsko’s 62-year-old mother, Fedora Gavrilovna, has learned via social media that he somehow made it to the Russian city of Volgograd, that was formerly known as Stalingrad.
The city is in southwest Russia, on the western bank of the Volga River, and was the site of WWII’s Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, with an estimated 2 million total casualties.
He said to a man that offered him a lift that he was trying to reach the city of Khabarovsk located 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the Chinese border.
Speaking to local media, she said she was desperate for someone to help her get him back, and that she feared he might be kidnapped by criminals who would use his disability to force him to beg.
Viorel was reportedly spotted near the Russian city of Buguruslan in the western region of Orenburg Oblast.
Local resident Alexey Ushakov said he came across the man, who has no feet and only one finger and a thumb walking on along a remote road late at night and offered him a lift.
According to Ushakov, the disabled traveller told him he set off from the city of Volgograd and was walking over 5,000 miles to the far-eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk.
He added: “He did not tell me why he was walking such a long trip, I offered him a room at my hotel for several days and told him I could get him good equipment to help him on his trip, and he agreed.”
He added that Matsko was not very talkative.
According to local media, residents saw Matsko leave town a few days later and they let Ushakov know.
His mum said that her son suddenly went missing in 2009 and that the family learned three years later that he was travelling around Russia.
The Moldovan man reportedly had both feet and eight digits on his hand amputated after losing them to frostbite on his travels.
His mother said that he never explained the reasons for his sudden decision to travel, adding: “Maybe he was miserable?”
She added: “Please come back, your mother loves you.”
Matsko’s current whereabouts are unknown.