No casualties are bigger than the lost lives and demolished homes. The effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is felt across every little crevice of society, and football is no different. On Tuesday, a series of missile attacks ravaged the city of Mykolaiv, also destroying Stadion Tsentralnyi, the home ground of one of the oldest football clubs in Ukraine.
“On June 28, Mykolayiv and its suburbs came under massive missile attack launched from Bastion coastal missile system located in occupied Kherson region,” read the statement of the Mykolayiv Regional State Administration.
The Ukrainian defence force could only thwart three out of eight missiles, while the rest ended up damaging their military stations and the stadium. In the middle of the recently renovated stadium lay a crater, 15-metre wide and 5-metre deep. There are no casualties as the stadium has been closed for the last few months.
“This used to be a lawn at the main stadium in Mykolaiv. Now it’s a crater. Just imagine what kind of rockets Russians hit the city with,” wrote Anton Gerashchenko, the officer in Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Ruslan Malinovskyi, the Ukrainian footballer who plays for Atalanta, too tweeted about the incident.
This is not the first time football had to bear the brunt of the Russian bombings. In March, the Russian airstrikes destroyed Desna Chernihiv’s home ground. Later on, the coach of this side decided to join the army to fight the invasion.
Sportspersons are at the forefront of highlighting the plight of their homeland, and they have also been running various community services to help people affected by the war. Oleksandr Zinchenko recently donated an undisclosed amount to the national bank, and is also helping his neighbours with essential services.
Ahead of the game against Scotland, Zinchenko said, “I have spoken with people from all around the world, from different countries. I have also spoken to some Ukrainian kids who just don’t understand what’s happening back in Ukraine. They only want the war to stop. They have one dream, to stop the war.”
Featured Image: Ukraine World