The stadium of West Ham star Andriy Yarmolenko’s youth club, Desna Chernihiv, has been shelled by Russian forces as conflict in Ukraine approaches two full months
That west ham United star started his professional career at Desna Chernihiv where he grew up after his parents left Leningrad. Yarmolenko’s old club have released images of the destruction, with the Yuri Gagarin Stadium reduced to rubble by the latest round of attacks the ongoing war.
The 12,000 spectator stadium was built in 1936 under the Soviet regime. Pictures show the stands being torn apart and the pitch turning from a surface suitable for the Ukrainian Premier League side to one full of craters. But in a defiant message, Desna continued to write Instagram : “We will rebuild all this, and we will only get stronger, and you, ‘friendly neighbors’, will live with it your whole life! Together to victory! The Ukrainian people are a closed front, this is our land!”
The conflict in Ukraine, which lasted almost two months, claimed almost 1,800 civilian lives, according to Ukraine United Nations, through rocket attacks and explosive weapons. The terror has prompted Yarmolenko to describe Russia’s invasion as “pure genocide.” In an interview on Ukrainian television, the 32-year-old said: “This is pure genocide, they are only destroying the Ukrainian people.
“Shooting at civilians, at children, at women, how is that possible? It’s just horror. I don’t know how to find the words. I saw how Russians give a concert, how do these people usually deal with it? I don’t say all people in Russia are bad. I know a lot of people who know what’s happening, I know how they react to it. But it is clear that people are being killed.”
After Russia’s first attacks on February 24, Yarmolenko was released by West Ham to stay in close contact with family and to come to terms with the atrocities in his home country. In his first game back with the team, the Irons No.7 scored the first goal when they batted AstonVilla 2:1 in First League.
Four days later his fantastic comeback continued; against a winner in overtime Seville in which European League round of 16 and sent West Ham to the quarter-finals. At both of Yarmolenko’s celebrations, the former, there was a burst of emotion Borussia Dortmund and Dynamo Kyiv tell forward Sky Sports after his goal against Villa: “To be honest, I don’t know what to say.
“I just want to say thank you to my teammates who support me all the time every day. To the West Ham fans, they support me and the Ukrainians and also all Brits because we feel that you support us. Thank you I felt the support from the fans and I tried to give my all on the pitch because I know how important the game was for us today.
“I’m not ready for 100% because I’ve trained maybe three or four times in the last two weeks. Since February 26, I had to take a four-day break because it was impossible to train – I was only thinking about my family and my people. I just tried to give my all on the pitch.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/andriy-yarmolenko-ukraine-stadium-russia-26690112 Stadium of Andriy Yarmolenko's youth club, left in ruins after Russian shelling