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Two Ukrainian Footballers Die In Combat With Russian Forces, After Stepping Away From Their Clubs To Defend Their Country

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Two Ukrainian Footballers Die In Combat With Russian Forces, After Stepping Away From Their Clubs To Defend Their Country Football's global players association FIFPRO has announced two Ukrainian footballers have died defending their country following Russia's invasion. Fighting in Ukraine has entered a seventh day following Vladimir Putin's call for a special operation to demilitarise and 'denazify' the country - a justification dismissed by Kyiv and the West as propaganda. But now The International Federation of Professional Footballers has confirmed Vitalii Sapylo, 21, and Dmytro Martynenko, 25, lost their lives in combat and have become the first football casualties of the war. A FIFPRO statement read: 'Our thoughts are with the families, friends and team-mates of young Ukrainian footballers Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martynenko, football's first reported losses in this war. May they both rest in peace.' Sapylo - a goalkeeper who was part of third-division side Karpaty Lviv's youth team - joined the Ukrainian army as a tank commander but is said to have died defending the capital Kyiv last Friday. His club Karpaty Lviv labelled him a 'hero' after announcing he had been killed in battle. A club statement confirming his death was also released on just the second day of the invasion, adding: 'We cherish the eternal memory of this hero.' His father Roman Sapilo, 44, meanwhile told German outlet BILD: 'He was such a happy, fun-loving boy. It was an airstrike by that damn Putin. He took my child from me. 'He really wanted to fight. First one tank broke down, then the second. But under no circumstances did he want to leave the front. He asked for a third party. This armour has brought him eternal sleep.' Martynenko - who last played for second-division side FC Gostomel - died alongside his mother after Russian bombs hit his home in an apartment block in the capital. Professional skier Yevhen Malyshev was also killed while fighting in an attempt to stop Putin's forces from advancing. The 20-year-old was part of his country's junior team but put his career in sport to the side two years ago to serve in the military. The Ukrainian Biathlon Federation confirmed his death in a statement, which said: 'We deeply sing to the homeland, to friends and family. Eternal memory by Yevhen Malyshev.'

Two Ukrainian footballers have died defending their country following Russia’s invasion, Football’s global players association FIFPRO has announced.

Fighting in Ukraine has entered a seventh day following Vladimir Putin’s call for a special operation to demilitarise and ‘denazify’ the country – a justification dismissed by Kyiv and the West as propaganda.

But now The International Federation of Professional Footballers has confirmed Vitalii Sapylo, 21, and Dmytro Martynenko, 25, lost their lives in combat and have become the first football casualties of the war.

A FIFPRO statement read: ‘Our thoughts are with the families, friends and team-mates of young Ukrainian footballers Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martynenko, football’s first reported losses in this war. May they both rest in peace.’

Sapylo – a goalkeeper who was part of third-division side Karpaty Lviv’s youth team – joined the Ukrainian army as a tank commander but is said to have died defending the capital Kyiv last Friday.

His club Karpaty Lviv labelled him a ‘hero’ after announcing he had been killed in battle.

A club statement confirming his death was also released on just the second day of the invasion, adding: ‘We cherish the eternal memory of this hero.’

His father Roman Sapilo, 44, meanwhile told German outlet BILD: ‘He was such a happy, fun-loving boy. It was an airstrike by that damn Putin. He took my child from me.

‘He really wanted to fight. First one tank broke down, then the second. But under no circumstances did he want to leave the front. He asked for a third party. This armour has brought him eternal sleep.’

Martynenko – who last played for second-division side FC Gostomel – died alongside his mother after Russian bombs hit his home in an apartment block in the capital.

Professional skier Yevhen Malyshev was also killed while fighting in an attempt to stop Putin’s forces from advancing.

The 20-year-old was part of his country’s junior team but put his career in sport to the side two years ago to serve in the military.

The Ukrainian Biathlon Federation confirmed his death in a statement, which said: ‘We deeply sing to the homeland, to friends and family. Eternal memory by Yevhen Malyshev.’

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