LE BAL – “A friend tried to flee and was killed” (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Viktor Kovalenko, midfielder on loan from Atalanta to La Spezia, from Italy, is suffering from afar from what is happening in his country. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, he revealed a sad episode about a friend, victim of the conflict with Russia.

“He [o amigo] he hid for five days before trying to flee the country with his brother and a daughter. Russian troops stopped them at a checkpoint. They killed the two men and didn’t even return the bodies to bury them,” he said.

Kovalenko’s family is still in Kherson and at the moment there is no way to leave Ukraine: “My family will come to Italy? At this stage, it is impossible. It’s very dangerous. If the Russians see a car in the area, they shoot. They don’t care who is inside, whether there are civilians, women or men. There are three checkpoints before the Kherson border.

The 26-year-old’s restlessness is constant, mainly because communication with his family is very complicated: “My parents, like many Ukrainians, have never left their homes. If they leave, they will find nothing when they return. The Russians come and take everything. They stay there and defend their home and their lives. My dad has a shotgun…he hopes he won’t use it, but he’s ready to defend himself and his family. I call my brother in the morning, but after 20 seconds the phone hangs up. Communication is difficult. I try to call my mother in the afternoon…I don’t understand how they are, I don’t understand if they are telling the truth or if they are hiding things.”

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