Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martynenko, two Ukrainian footballers, were killed in combat after Russia invaded Ukraine during the continuing conflict.
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The pair chose to fight Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and were on the front lines defending their homeland.

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Vitalii, a 21-year-old goalie for third-division side Karpaty Lviv’s junior team, and Martynenko, a 25-year-old who last played for second-division side FC Hostomel, both died in the fighting, according to a statement from the worldwide footballers’ union FIFPRO.

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FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffman stated in a separate interview with the BBC that: “We’ve had confirmation from the ground, which is of course incredibly sad.

“We don’t have clear information on how many of our members are really currently involved directly in the conflict, and of course, there are still hundreds of Ukrainian players, male and female, in the country.

“These two players have apparently passed away, as part of this military invasion. They’re showing how football and sports, in general, is an afterthought because they’re just individuals who unfortunately got caught up in this terrible war.”

President Vladimir Putin of Russia ordered an invasion of Ukraine last week, destroying some cities in the process.

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Since then, the entire globe has condemned the aggression on Ukraine, with several sporting organizations stepping in to add their voices to the chorus.

Russia’s clubs and national teams have been barred from participating in football contests by FIFA and UEFA.

Russia has been ruled out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in November and December of that year.

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The World Athletics Council also barred all Russian competitors from competing in any World Athletics Series events on Tuesday.


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