Ukrainian football club Shakhtar helps turn Arena Lviv into a haven for thousands of refugees
Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk is part of an effort to turn Arena Lviv into a refugee haven for thousands affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there have been 2,473,427 refugees from Ukraine since February 24, when Russia’s recent incursion into the country began.
Today, Shakhtar turned Arena Lviv, home of FC Lviv and Rukh Lviv, into a refugee shelter. Shakhtar also played their home matches on the pitch between July 2014 and December 2016, when their home region of Donbass was first embroiled in a dispute with Russia.
Lviv is 70 kilometers from the Polish border.
Arena Lviv was one of eight venues used for Euro 2012, hosted by Poland and Ukraine. Spain won this tournament.
Shakhtar Donetsk director of communications Yuri Sviridov said: “We are trying to be helpful here and to organize a haven in Lviv, which has this big stadium, which was used during Euro 2012.
“We have already played games here in the Champions League. In partnership with the local authorities, we have ensured that it is a refuge for 2 to 3000 people. If other clubs want to get involved or send things, it would be items like blankets, mattresses, beds, pillows, they would be very helpful.
“Benfica sends five trucks of everything; food, medicine and clothing. Our employees are volunteers at the stadium.
“Legia Warsaw in Poland has also suggested that its own stadium should serve as a hub where aid can be collected from other clubs sending it, before it is then transported to Lviv.”
On Friday morning, the conflict continued with Russia bombarding two Ukrainian cities – Lutsk in the northwest and Dnipro in the centre.