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04th Mar 2022

Shakhtar Donetsk confirm youth coach has been killed by Russian shell

Simon Lloyd

Shakhtar’s CEO has urged Russia’s football community to speak out against Vladimir Putin’s invasion

Shakhtar Donetsk have confirmed that one of their youth coaches has been killed as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensifies.

In a Facebook post urging Russia’s football community to use their influence to help stop the invasion, Serhiy Palkin, Shakhtar’s CEO, said that the coach, who he did not name, was killed when he was hit by fragment from a Russian shell. He did not give details of where or when the coach died.

The news comes within 48 hours of it being announced that two young Ukrainian footballers, Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martynenko, had also been killed.

Shakhtar are one of Ukraine’s most successful football clubs, winning their domestic league title 13 times. Although Russia’s latest assault began last Thursday, Ukraine has been battling pro-Russian forces in the east of the country since 2014.

Because of these tensions, Shakhtar, originally from the Donbas region, have been forced to relocate from their Donbass Arena home. Recently based in Kyiv, they have also used the city of Lviv, close to the border with Poland in western Ukraine, as their home.

“You are becoming an outcast,” Palkin’s Facebook post read. “Russia, from a nation that has made tremendous efforts to defeat Nazism, is turning into a nation of terrorists, a nation of silent cowards.

“The whole world is watching you today. And the world expects you to act that will stop the madness. But you’re afraid, you’re scared. In sports, fear is a feeling that reduces the probability of victory to zero.

“Your fear of going against the war in Ukraine is destroyed cities, your fear is thousands and thousands of deaths among civilians, your fear is dead children and maimed fates of millions. Your fear of going against the bloody regime is your greatest defeat.

“Although you did not give the order to exterminate Ukrainians, your silence is an aid to mass murder and destruction.

“An employee of ours was killed yesterday. A kids coach. He was killed by a fragment of a Russian shell. Russia, you are killing Ukrainians.

“Stop this madness ! Don’t be silent, speak up! Otherwise, it will be your personal defeat. A defeat that will be remembered by all generations to come. A defeat that cannot be erased from the world history. And each of you will be guilty and responsible for the crimes committed.”

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