Ahead of EURO 2024, a video has been released featuring 13 players from the Ukrainian National Team, each hailing from hometowns affected by Russian aggression or occupation.

Among these, there’s the village of Velyka Novosilka, where Dynamo Kyiv player Mykola Shaparenko is from. It was completely destroyed. There is no electricity or water. Where there were once 6,000 residents, now only 300 remain.

Real Madrid's Andriy Lunin and Chelsea's Mykhailo Mudryk are from Krasnohrad in Kharkiv Oblast, which has been shelled by the russian army since the beginning of the full-scale war.

A similar situation occurred in Zaporizhzhia, the hometown of Serhii Sydorchuk, a midfielder for the Belgian club Westerlo.

The players of Shakhtar Donetsk, Oleksandr Zubkov and Mykola Matvienko, Maksym Talovyerov of the Austrian club LASK, and Anatoliy Trubin of the Portuguese FC Benfica cannot return to their hometowns of Makiivka, Saky, and Donetsk, because they are temporarily occupied.

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This is also true for the hometown of the head coach of the Ukrainian national team, Serhiy Rebrov: Horlivka in Donetsk Oblast. Rebrov has not been home for over 10 years.

“My parents are teachers, but my dad and I had a tradition of going to the stadium in Krasnograd to play football after work. Then I asked my parents to take me to the football section,” says Mykhailo Mudryk, midfielder of Chelsea FC and the Ukrainian national team.

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024
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British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024

Latest from the British Defence Intelligence.

“Since the beginning of the full-scale war, my city has been bombarded with missiles day and night. Despite this, my family remains in Krasnograd. My parents continue to build their lives there and always believe in the victory of Ukraine," Mudryk said.

The video also featured Oleksandr Zinchenko, left-back for Arsenal FC, from Radomyshl, Zhytomyr Oblast; Ilya Zabarnyi, central defender for English club AFC Bournemouth from Kyiv; Ruslan Malinovskyi, midfielder for Italian club Genoa from Zhytomyr; Artem Dovbyk, striker and right winger for Spanish club Girona from Cherkasy; and Viktor Tsygankov from Vinnytsia. Russia is trying to destroy their hometowns with constant shelling.

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“We often hear that football is separate from war, but this video proves otherwise, showing that there is no Ukrainian football player, city, stadium, playground, or child untouched by the war,” Andriy Shevchenko, World Cup Golden Ball winner and President of the Ukrainian Association of Football said.

“We are here at EURO 2024 thank the incredible people fighting for our freedom, including hundreds of thousands of football fans who would rather be in the stands instead of on the front lines.”

“Our cities desire to host the EUROs, but now they are fighting not for the tournament, but for freedom. That's why we are calling on all participating countries in the European Championship to help Ukraine. Football is not just a sport; it is also a powerful force — a symbol of solidarity, unity, and the support our country desperately needs.”

The European Football Championship 2024 will start on June 14 and will be held in Germany until July 14.

The national team of Ukraine is in Group E and will play their opening game on June 17 in Munich against the national team of Romania.

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