This Ukrainian footballer’s mother and father fled Bucha. Now he is sending ambulances for individuals who stay

2022-07-03 05:47:34

However they had been adamant they might be high quality hiding out of their outdated residence within the leafy suburb of Bucha.

Fortunately, whereas Shliakotin’s mother and father took some convincing, they did finally come round — fleeing simply earlier than the primary Russian tanks rolled in. Now they’re awaiting refugee standing in Germany and tearfully thank their son and daughter with every phone name.

“Days after convincing them, I noticed movies of crushed streets — the whole lot seemed horrible, like after the Second World Warfare. Then I realised, ‘rattling it, this appears to be like very acquainted to me,'” stated Shliakotin, a goalkeeper for Hong Kong Premier League membership Hong Kong Rangers.

“Then the man within the video says it is Vokzal’na Avenue, Bucha. That is actually my avenue, the place I spent my childhood, the place I went to high school, the place I’ve walked hundreds of occasions. If my mother and father had nonetheless been there, they most likely would not be alive. Our home was destroyed.

“A number of weeks after that, there have been scenes of individuals simply laying on the street with their arms tied, shot of their heads. It is simply … unattainable to course of. Thank God they left.”

A journey fraught with hazard

Shliakotin does not know what occurred to his mother and father’ residence, as all their neighbors fled too.

It was a journey fraught with hazard for the couple, of their 60s, who needed to escape by automobile as a result of the airport was underneath heavy shelling. Temperatures had been under zero they usually had no spare garments.

So crowded had been the roads with fleeing Ukrainians — a few of them main kids and animals on foot — that it took them 4 days to achieve the Polish border, a journey that will usually take eight hours.

“It feels like some type of film. On the final day, they helped deliver three youngsters from one other household throughout the border, as a result of the daddy within the lane behind them could not go away the nation,” Shliakotin stated.

Ukrainian footballer Roman Zozulya and fellow volunteers stuff ambulances to be sent to Ukraine with care packages in Madrid in Spain.

The footballer just isn’t searching for sympathy.

“You could perceive that whereas the tales sound wild, we’re form of fortunate. We now have nothing to complain about. Proper now in Ukraine, in case you misplaced your residence however everyone seems to be alive (then) you do not even open your mouth to say one thing unhealthy has occurred to you,” he stated.

“(Many kids) live with out their mother and father … persons are writing telephone numbers, surnames and date of births on their youngsters’ backs simply in case they die the following day.”

The next purpose

What Shliakotin — a former Ukraine nationwide youth workforce goalkeeper — is searching for, nevertheless, is funding to assist these caught again house.

And he has discovered a shocking stage of assist in his adopted house of Hong Kong.

Beginning his soccer profession on the prestigious Dynamo Kyiv youth academy, the now 32-year-old Shliakotin has been a Hong Kong fan favourite since transferring to its prime league in 2016.

And he has discovered he can leverage that reputation for an excellent trigger, receiving an amazing response to his Instagram video posts through which he asks Hongkongers for assist.

“I bought hundreds of messages of assist from day one,” he stated. “I used to be shocked at how many individuals needed to assist,” Shliakotin stated.

One of three ambulances filled with first-aid resources and funded by Hong Kong donors to be sent from Spain to Ukraine.

His appeals have since helped to fund 9 ambulances to be despatched to Ukraine, three of them paid for particularly by donations from Hong Kong, and numerous smaller choices.

“There was one man who contacted me on Fb, a Mr. Lam, who wrote ‘hey Aleks, I noticed the information on Ukraine and I need to donate $10,000 Hong Kong {dollars} (about $1,300), however I need to assist a selected particular person or household who really want it. If somebody, please let me know.’

“I had simply heard from a mom and two daughters from Chernihiv whose home was destroyed and had been in panic with nowhere to go. So we despatched the cash to them.

“The household had been shocked — they could not consider one thing like this was potential. {That a} man from Hong Kong, a spot they did not hadn’t even heard of, would assist rapidly.

“These are the moments the place I do know that humanity remains to be alive — that there’s nonetheless some good on the earth.”

A workforce effort

Two shut associates are serving to Shliakotin in his efforts.

Oresta Brit is a volunteer who has been feeding and transporting kids and the aged since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, whereas Roman Zozulya is a former Dynamo Kyiv youth teammate taking part in in Spain, who helps to purchase, service and restore the ambulances in that nation earlier than they’re despatched to Ukraine.

Ukrainian footballer Roman Zozulya holds a 'Thank You Hong Kong' sign in front of an ambulance to be sent from Spain to Ukraine.

Every ambulance wants documentation from the Ukrainian Embassy, then have to be registered to a selected army unit.

As soon as these packing containers are ticked, “we stuff our ambulances with humanitarian help, and our volunteers drive them to the border, earlier than my (workforce) takes over to the ultimate vacation spot,” Shliakotin.

Zozulya stated he and Shliakotin had been only one a part of a community of abroad Ukrainian footballers “uniting to assist.”

“Whereas some are preventing on the entrance strains, we’ve our personal [role] as public figures,” Zozulya stated.

“We now have this chance that others do not have — we are able to communicate to the entire world and will be heard by an enormous variety of folks.”

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