Victims of war in Ukraine set out to inspire others
But, unlike most of the other participants, Roman will be at a distinct disadvantage as he was badly injured in the conflict and had to have one of his lower legs amputated.
He now gets by with the support of a prosphetic limb but that has not deterred him from entering the city’s big annual charity run this weekend.
He will line up alongside another veteran of the war, Yurii Kozlovskyi whose right leg was seriously injured during the conflict and who also now relies on an artificial limb for his mobility.
Both appeared at a news conference at Brussels press club on Friday to explain why they were so determined not to allow their personal anguish from taking part in sport, including the 20km.
Father of two Roman, aged 27, told this site: “I turned to sport after what happened to me and it has helped me very significantly, not least with the psychological damage. It has helped me find a true meaning to life.”
He is particularly proud of recently becoming the first ever veteran from the Ukraine war to complete the London marathon.Advertisement
Roman, who first joined the Ukraine forces as a volunteer at the age of 19, said: “The 20km is not a marathon but it is still a significant distance and we hope to raise as much as possible for the Foundation.”
Yurii, 40 and father of one child, added: “The message I hope our participation in the 20km will give others is that you should never lose your spirit for life.”
“I hope this will be an inspiration to others who find themselves in a similar situation. There are not just thousands, but likely millions, who will be injured, some badly, in this war.”
A third veteran,Yurii Tsyntylevych, was also at the press club to tell of his own experience. The 30-year-old also suffered serious injuries while trying to defend Luhansk airport back in 2014.
He too says sport has helped deal with the fall out of what happened. In his case, he has since run two half marathons and an online version of the London marathon.
He said: “It is not just the finishing line we are all hoping to make on Sunday. We are also here to raise funds for a charity which helps wounded veterans like us.”
All three told reporters they hope Ukraine can share the experience of other countries like the UK which have well established programmes to rehabilitate injured servicemen and women.
Proceeds from their participation on Sunday will go to the Citizen Charity Foundation, which aids veterans injured in the war.
“We owe it to veterans who have selflessly protected Ukraine and Europe from Russia’s war to ensure they receive the support and assistance they need to transition back into civilian life and overcome the challenges they face as a result of their service,” said Yana Brovdiy, volunteer of Promote Ukraine and initiator of the visit.
“The visit of Ukrainian veterans to Brussels is a strong show of support for the welfare of Ukrainian veterans. Their involvement in the visit and the upcoming run will undoubtedly add a compelling voice to the conversation around veteran affairs.”
Their visit to Brussels is part of the efforts to raise awareness about the well-being and rehabilitation programmes for wounded Ukrainian defenders.
The visit is part of the efforts to raise awareness about the well-being and rehabilitation programmes for wounded Ukrainian defenders.
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