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Two young footballers and a former biathlete, 19, killed in Ukraine, according to sporting organizations



Fighting in the country entered its second week on Thursday after Russia’s invasion on February 24.

FIFPro, the worldwide players’ union, tweeted on Tuesday: “Our thoughts are with the families, friends, and teammates of young Ukrainian footballers Vitalii Sapylo (21) and Dmytro Martynenko (25), football’s first reported losses in this war.

Sapylo’s club, Ukrainian third division side FC Karpaty Lviv, paid tribute to him in an Instagram post, calling him a “hero of Ukraine.”

READ: These are the sports that Russia has been suspended from

“The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine to fifteen of our defenders who are defending their land from the invasion of Russian troops,” the post read.

“Among them is a pupil of the Karpathian school, Lieutenant Vitaliy Sapylo, who died in battle near Kyiv.

“It is reported that Sapilo was the commander of a tank platoon and neutralized 30 units of enemy equipment. Vitaly was killed in an air strike on February 25.

“To the eternal memory of the Hero!”

Martynenko reportedly played for amateur regional club FC Gostomel.

In a joint statement released on Monday, FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian international and club teams from their competitions “until further notice.”

READ: Russian and Belarusian athletes to no longer compete at 2022 Winter Paralympics after multiple protests

On Wednesday, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) put out a statement including the death of Ukrainian former biathlete Yevhen Malyshev.

The executive board of the IBU said Malyshev, 19, died while serving in the military.

“The EB expresses its deepest condolences on the loss of former Ukrainian biathlete Yevhen Malyshev (19), who died this week serving in the Ukrainian military,” the statement read.

“The Executive Board once again condemns the Russian attacks on Ukraine and the support provided by Belarus and reiterates its hope for an immediate end to the war.”

The IBU has suspended all Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from participating in International Biathlon Union events.

It’s not clear how many Ukrainian military personnel have been killed, and its unclear how accurate the civilian death toll is.

The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine says that it has recorded over 750 civilian casualties in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

The UN reported at least 136 civilian deaths but cautioned the toll is likely “much higher.”

One million refugees have fled Ukraine during Russia’s invasion, according to the UN.

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