Russians destroy stadium of Andriy Yarmolenko’s boyhood club

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Russian shelling left the stadium of Ukrainian football club Desna Chernihiv in ruins.

A Ukrainian football page on Twitter posted a clip of the gruesome scenes at Chernihiv Stadium, formerly known as Yuri Gagarin Stadium, in central-western Ukraine. Footage showed the crumbling ground with its stalls destroyed and rubble everywhere.

The 12,000-seater, built under Soviet rule in 1936, belonged to the boyhood club of West Ham United star Andriy Yarmolenko, who play in the Ukrainian Premier League. Based on the devastation seen in the clip, it is highly unlikely that the ground will be used for football in the near future.

Twitter account Zorya Londonsk tweeted: “Look at the devastation the RU bombing has brought to UPL’s Desna Chernihiv ground – Yuri Gagarin Stadium… Andriy Yarmolenko’s boyhood club.

Another photo showed a frighteningly large crater in the terrain where a missile had landed. Inside stood a Ukrainian pop star who showed the extent of the devastation.



The shell left a huge hole in the middle of the field



The extent of the destruction is visible from above
The extent of the destruction is visible from above

The caption read: “Here is famous Ukrainian singer/songwriter Svyatoslav Vakarchuk (Okean Elzy) standing in a crater left by a missile/shell in the middle of Desna terrain yesterday…

“High-level Ukrainian matches were held here in the fall… They won’t be back for a long time.”



The two canoes were destroyed
The two canoes were destroyed


The stalls have been destroyed
The stalls have been destroyed

Hammers star Yarmolenko grew up in the city of Chernihiv after his parents moved there from Leningrad (St Petersburg). He started his career with amateur team Yuniste Chernihiv before signing for Desna in 2004.



West Ham's Andriy Yarmolenko once graced the crumbling turf
West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko once graced the crumbling turf

The winger spent three years with the club, making nine first-team appearances and scoring four goals as a teenager before his big move to Dynamo Kyiv in 2007. The team finished sixth out of 14 Ukrainian league clubs on the season last.

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