'Stop the madness!' - Shakhtar CEO Sergey Palkin urges end to crisis in Ukraine after confirming youth team coach killed 'by fragment of a Russian shell'

Sergey Palkin Shakhtar DonetskGetty

Shakhtar Donetsk CEO Sergey Palkin has called for an end to the “madness” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while confirming that a youth coach employed by the club has been killed “by a fragment of a Russian shell”.

Millions of people in Ukraine are now living in fear after seeing Vladimir Putin sanction military advances into their country.

Many have fled into neighbouring nations, but others have been left behind as flights are grounded and exit routes become shut off, with Palkin among those urging the people of Russia to stand up against the actions of their president.

What has been said?

The Shakhtar CEO said in a message on Facebook: “I would like to address the owners, management and football players of Russian football clubs. Russia has carried out a terrible and treacherous military attack on Ukraine. A country in which each of you has visited and where you have always been welcomed. A country in which you have relatives, friends, acquaintances. The country where some of you were even born. And this country and its people are today being destroyed by the Russian army with all kinds of weapons.

“You are becoming an outcast. Russia, from a nation that has made tremendous efforts to defeat Nazism, is turning into a nation of terrorists, a nation of silent cowards. The whole world is watching you today. And the world expects you to act in a way that will stop the madness. But you're afraid, you're scared. In sports, fear is a feeling that reduces the probability of victory to zero. Your fear of going against the war in Ukraine has destroyed cities, your fear is thousands and thousands of deaths among civilians, your fear is dead children and maimed fates of millions. Your fear of going against the bloody regime is your greatest defeat.

"Although you did not give the order to exterminate Ukrainians, your silence is an aid to mass murder and destruction.

“An employee of ours was killed yesterday. Kids coach. He was killed by a fragment of a Russian shell. Russia, you are killing Ukrainians. Stop this madness! Don't be silent, speak up! Otherwise, it will be your personal defeat. A defeat that will be remembered by all generations to come. A defeat that cannot be erased from world history. And each of you will be guilty and responsible for the crimes committed.”

Palkin also posted a number of pictures alongside the message: “Look at what the Russian military is doing to our cities!!!”

The bigger picture

FIFPRO confirmed on Tuesday that two Ukrainian footballers had been killed as political unrest in Eastern Europe escalates.

A statement from the organisation that represents players all over the world read: “Our thoughts are with the families, friends and team-mates of young Ukrainian footballers Vitalii Sapylo and Dmytro Martynenko, football's first reported losses in this war. May they both rest in peace.”

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Shows of support for Ukraine continue to be made by clubs and organisations across the world, with Everton handing their captain’s armband to Vitaliy Mykolenko for an FA Cup fifth-round clash with Boreham Wood on Thursday, while also displaying a banner featuring the words ‘Imagine all the people sharing all the world’ prior to kick-off.

Shakhtar have thanked the Toffees for their actions on social media.

Elsewhere, Ukraine have asked FIFA to postpone their World Cup play-off clash with Scotland that is due to take place on March 24, with sporting matters being put to one side for now.

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