Two footballers killed in Ukraine during invasion of Russia as Shevchenko calls for peace | Soccer | sport
Two Ukrainian footballers were killed during the Russian invasion of their country. Vitalii Sapylo, 21, and Dmytro Martynenko, 25, became the sport’s first reported casualties in the war. The news was announced by FIFPRO on Tuesday afternoon.
Sapylo was a player in the youth team of Ukrainian second division team Karpaty Lviv.
He lost his life in a battle near the country’s capital, Kiev.
Martynenko, who was an amateur footballer for FC Gostomel, died alongside his mother when his building near Kyiv was bombed.
FIFPO press release on their death bed“Our hearts go out to the families, friends and teammates of young Ukrainian footballers Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martynenko, football’s first defeats in this war. May they both rest in peace.
Sapylo joined the army as a tank commander but his club announced his death last Friday.
On the 21-year-old’s death, Karpaty Lviv said: “We cherish the eternal memory of this hero.”
News of their passing comes after former Ukrainian footballer and manager Andriy Shevchenko called for peace with Russia.
Shevchenko sent a video message ahead of the Milan derby on Tuesday night.
The former Chelsea striker said: “Dear Italian friends, I ask you from San Siro to give your support for peace in Ukraine.
“The Ukrainian people want peace, because peace has no borders, because what unites us must be stronger than what divides us.
“Let’s stop this war together. I kiss you all.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, FIFA and UEFA have suspended all Russian teams from participating in international or domestic tournaments.
The English FA are one of several football associations to say they will not face Russia at any level.
Chelsea’s future is uncertain as owner Roman Abramovich faces potential sanctions.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel was repeatedly asked about the situation last week.
Tuchel was unable to shed light on Abramovich’s position but condemned the Russian actions.
“I have to say it’s a bit too much for me to answer,” Tuchel said.
“I’m not aware of any details, and I’m not aware of the whole situation.
“We all agree that there are much, much more important situations than football, that will never change.
“And situations like war are of course so much more important.
“But I can’t comment on Mr. Abramovich’s role, because I just don’t know enough.”
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