A UKRAINIAN decathlon champion has died fighting Russia.
Volodymyr Androshchuk was killed in action near Bakhmut, Ukraine, on January 25.
5Volodymyr Androshchuk was expected to be a future Olympic starCredit: Twitter/@DefenceU5Tributes have flowed in following the death of the Ukrainian soldierCredit: ReutersThe tragic loss of the 22-year-old was confirmed by the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, who said: “A promising athlete and a true hero.
“He could have been able to participate in the Olympic Games in Paris, if Russia hadn’t invaded Ukraine.
“Why do Russians still have this privilege.”
Anton Gerashchenko, former deputy minister of the Ministry of Inner Ukraine, paid tribute to the athlete.
He said: “Volodymyr Androshchuk, Ukrainian track and field athlete, member of the national team, died in combat near Bakhmut.
“We keep losing our best people.”
Family and friends of Androshchuk said their final goodbyes at the man’s funeral on Wednesday, February 1.
His funeral was held in the western Ukrainian town of Letychiv, with hundreds mourning the death of the future athlete.
Heartbreaking images showed people crying in despair as they lined up to pay their respects.
Androshchuk’s coffin, hoisted by Ukrainian servicemen, was carried through snow-covered streets to a cemetery to the sound of a military brass ensemble.
The man is believed to have volunteered for the military and was hit by shrapnel that resulted in his death.
He was involved in a battle near Bakhmut, which has seen a wave of intense fighting as Vladimir Putin continues to try to seize Ukrainian territory.
Maria, a 21-year-old classmate of Androshchuk, told Reuters she imagined him winning medals for Ukraine.
She said: “Unfortunately none of this is going to happen.
“How can a terrorist state that takes millions of lives, the lives of athletes, of children, be invited anywhere.
“They need to be fully isolated.”
Fellow decathlete, Dmytro Korbenko, who described himself as Androshchuk’s best friend claimed Russian athletes should be banned from international sporting championships because of the atrocities they have committed.
He said: “It’s obvious they’re not supposed to be in sports, nor at the 2024 Olympic Games.
“He was supposed to live a long and happy life.
“He had everything to be successful in training and in competitions.”
The devastating death follows claims that the Kremlin is allegedly gearing up for a new offensive that could see 700,000 soldiers pour into Ukraine.
5Androshchuk is believed to have volunteered for the Ukraine militaryCredit: Twitter/@DefenceU5A fellow soldier holds a picture of the courageous athleteCredit: Reuters5Family and friends mourned the death of the manCredit: Reuters
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk