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Shakhtar Donetsk Defender Joins War Efforts in Ukraine

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By Martin Graham | 3rd Mar 2022

Shakhtar Donetsk defender Viktor Kornienko has joined with his country’s military in the fight against the Russian invasion which is currently in its sixth day.

The 23-year-old Ukrainian international is among a number of athletes who have joined the resistance effort.

Kornienko posted on Instagram: “I am in Ukraine, I’m helping the Armed Forces. Glory to Ukraine. So that we can destroy Russian f*ckers. Glory to Ukraine”.

Meanwhile other footballers and athletes are helping Ukraine’s war efforts with financial donations. Andriy Yarmolenko and Brazilian born Junior Moraes have already made significant financial donations to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

A number of Ukrainian footballers have also united in a passionate video plea to urge fans, players and coaches to ‘stop the destruction and bloodshed’ in their homeland following Russia’s invasion.

Shakhtar Donetsk evacuate Brazilian players to Romania

Elsewhere, as Kornienko joins the war efforts in the front line, his club Shakhtar Donetsk have evacuated their Brazilian players to neighbouring Romania in response to Russia’s nation of Ukraine as ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on Thursday, Brazilian players sent SOS messages to FIFA, UEFA and their home country asking to be evacuated as the attacks continued incessantly.

Shakhtar Donetsk, who have the largest contingent of Brazilian players plying their trade in Ukraine, had to find a way out for their foreign flyers and on Tuesday, successfully evacuated their Brazilian players to neighbouring Romania.

The Ukrainian Premier League club, who were top of the table before the league went on a compulsory break due to the invasion, worked with UEFA to move 12 players away from Ukraine as the Russian invasion continues to escalate.

“We want to thank for the assistance everyone who took part in this process,” Shakhtar said in a statement after the evacuation was complete.

“The evacuation of the players was made possible thanks to the personal assistance of Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, the Ukrainian Football Association President Andrii Pavelko and the Moldovan Football Federation President Leonid Oleinichenko.”

Shakhtar also said that fellow Ukrainian clubs Dynamo Kyiv and SK Dnipro-1 have also managed to move foreign players from Ukraine.

Two Ukrainian footballers die in combat

FIFPRO announced the deaths of Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martynenko, who died on the front lines of Ukraine’s efforts to stave off the Russian invasion, currently in its sixth day.

The International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO) announced the death of 21-year-old Vitalii Sapylo on the front lines, who played in the youth ranks of Karpaty Lviv.

FC Gostomel’s Dmytro Martynenko (25) was killed while visiting home from the front lines lost, as Russian bombs hit his neighbourhood during an attack.

“Our thoughts are with the families, friends, and teammates of young Ukrainian footballers Vitalii Sapylo (21) and Dmytro Martynenko (25), football’s first reported losses in this war,” FIFPRO announced.

“May they both rest in peace.”

Both footballers are not the only athletes to lose their lives for Ukraine due to Russia’s attacks. 20-year-old Ukrainian biathlete Yevhen Malyshev has also lost his life while fighting.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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