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27th Feb 2022

Ex-Roma manager Paulo Fonseca escapes Kyiv following Russian invasion

Daniel Brown

Fonseca was taken to Romania in a 15-seater minivan

Former Roma manager Paulo Fonseca and his family have managed to escape Kyiv following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Previous reports suggested that the 48-year-old had been stranded in the Ukrainian capital with his wife and son after their attempted escape failed to materialise when their flight was abandoned.

Since the invasion of Ukraine began, several airports have been destroyed by missile strikes. It was thought that Fonseca and his family were staying in a Kyiv hotel.

Fonseca is married to Ukrainian Katerina Ostroushko and the pair had a son together in 2019. On Saturday (February 26), Katerina confirmed on Instagram that she and her family were now safe.

As reported by Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, Fonseca and his family were able to leave Kyiv thanks to a mission led by the Portuguese embassy.

The Portuguese manager was taken to Romania, through Moldova, in a 15-seater minivan. He was reportedly joined by several other Portuguese nationals including Edgar Cardoso and Filipe Sousa, who both work for Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.

Fonseca and his family will now fly to Portugal on the first available flight after recovering in Moldova.

On Instagram, Fonseca’s wife said: “Our friends from all over the world. You are absolutely incredible!

“Thank you for your great support, your prayers and help in our darkest days.

“Thanks to you, my family and I are safe now.  I will forever remember your kindness.

“Every helping hand, every word, I’m absolutely crushed. My heart is broken. So much pain and fear in two terrible days. Crime war I hate you, Ukraine I love you.”

The ex-Roma boss had initially planed to escape Kyiv via a 10am flight on Thursday, only for all flights to be quickly suspended.

“I woke up at five in the morning with five explosions in a row,” he told Jornal de Noticias

“I had a flight scheduled for today, but now it is impossible to leave here, not least because the airports are already destroyed and the airspace has been closed.

“This is the worst day of my life. Now it’s time to wait and be lucky. And pray that a bomb doesn’t fall on us.”

It comes after Fonseca posted a short video to his social media accounts on Thursday, where he thanked people for their support and insisted that he and his wife ‘believe peace will eventually prevail’.

He said: “Hello everyone. I am in Kyiv. My family and I are going through a very tough time in the middle of an unacceptable war. However, we believe peace will eventually prevail and we must remain strong.

“I’ve receive messages from many people in Portugal, Italy and all around the world, and I want to thank everyone for the care that you have shown my family and I at this time. Hope to see all of you soon.”