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MOSCOW, August 30, /ITAR-TASS/. Two artillery shells hit the main facility of the training base of Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk football club in the country’s embattled eastern region destroying the building completely, Sergei Palkin, the director general of the Shakhtar FC, said on Saturday.
“Fortunately no one was hurt,” Palkin said. “But the base is destroyed. I have no clue what comes next. First of all, the war must be over.”
Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.
During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation destroying infrastructure of the southeastern regions, leaving thousands killed and wounded and forcing people to flee the country.
“My heart bleeds now,” Shakhtar FC director general said. “It is impossible to describe it. Such bombings occur daily.”
Shakhtar FC’s team currently bases in the country’s capital of Kiev due to military operations in the southeast of Ukraine and the club plays its home matches at a stadium in the city of Lviv.
The ongoing military conflict in Ukraine raised numerous concerns among foreign footballers playing for Ukrainian football clubs, including in the Shakhtar Donetsk FC.
Six foreign players from the Shakhtar FC skipped the plane back to Ukraine after a friendly against Lyon FC on July 19 and decided to remain in France rather than returning to conflict stricken Ukraine. They cited security concerns.
The players refusing to travel back to Ukraine were Brazilian's Douglas Costa, Fred, Dentinho, Alex Teixiera, Ismaily and Argentinian Facundo Ferreyra, who had their combined transfer deals at the Shakhtar FC worth a total of 57 million euros ($77 million).
Several days later three Argentinian football players from the Kharkiv FC, namely midfielders Alejandro Gomez, Jose Sosa and forward Jonatan Cristaldo, decided against returning to conflict-hit Ukraine and stay in their country and they also cited security concerns.
Four days ago the Paraguayan Football Association (PFA) announced that the country’s national team refused to play an away friendly match against the Ukrainian team next week amid security concerns in the former Soviet republic.
“The Paraguayan delegation is not traveling for the match [in Ukraine] due to combat actions in the country,” the association said in its statement.