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How many Ukraine stadiums have become casualties of the ongoing war?
The Ukraine-Russia conflict that began way back in 2014 and escalated into an all-out war in 2022 has been a humanitarian tragedy, and countless heartbreaking stories can be told about the irreparable damage done to human lives and infrastructure.
Thousands of cultural hubs, churches, museums, libraries and others have suffered severe damage or have been destroyed completely.
Here we focus our attention on all the damage done to Ukraine’s football stadiums during this war. Which are the most well-known casualties? How many more football stadiums in Ukraine will suffer damage?
Ukraine stadiums damaged in 2014: The two pearls of Donbas suffer war-damage
Many probably have forgotten that the first stage of the Ukraine-Russia conflict started way back in 2014 when the Russians invaded the Donbas region and annexed it.
The main city of Donbas is Donetsk, home to arguably the most successful Ukrainian football team over the past 30 years Shakhtar Donetsk. The ‘Pitmen’ had a beautiful modern stadium but the unthinkable happened and Donbas Arena was the first Ukrainian stadium to suffer war damages.
Ukraine stadium war casualties in Donbas: Donbas Arena and Avanhard Stadium
Donbas Arena was an ultramodern football stadium in Ukraine, home to the most successful team in the country Shakhtar Donetsk and one of the eight stadium hosts of EURO 2012. With its 52,000 capacity, it was one of the biggest stadiums in Ukraine. However, it suffered serious damage from missiles in 2014 and since it hasn’t been used for sporting purposes. Shakhtar have been playing far away from their home Donetsk for the past 10 years due to this conflict.
The other big club of the Donbas region Zorya Luhansk have also been banished from their home town for a decade due to the war. Their ground Avanhard Stadium (22,000 capacity) also suffered damage from shelling in 2014 and became Ukraine’s second stadium casualty of the war.
Full list of Stadiums in Ukraine damaged by war
After a few years of relative peace, the Ukraine-Russia conflict erupted again with even greater ferocity in February 2022. Since day one of the renewed war Ukraine’s football stadiums have been targeted by bombs, tanks and land mines. All this keeps adding new names to the list of Ukraine stadiums' war casualties.
As already mentioned above, Donbas Arena in Donetsk and Avanhard Stadium in Luhansk were the first two damaged Ukraine football stadiums during this conflict.
As the conflict resumed in February 2022 Mariupol was one of the first cities targeted by severe Russian shelling and Mariupol FK’s ground Volodymyr Boyko Stadium suffered irreparable damage.
— Ukraine War SitRep 🇺🇦 (@UKRWarSitRep) April 26, 2022
In the days and months that followed another one of the eight stadiums that hosted EURO 2012 Metalist Stadium in Kharkhiv, home to Metalist Kharkiv, also suffered serious damage from shelling.
The Sonyachny Stadium was another Ukraine stadium in Kharkhiv that was damaged by shelling during the battle for the city. This ground was used often by Ukraine’s National Team as a training facility but most of it now has been turned into rubble.
As the bombs kept falling over Ukraine the list of damaged football stadiums by the war kept growing too. Here are all the other stadiums damaged by this ongoing conflict:
- Metalurh Stadium in Bakhmut, home to FK Bakhmut;
- Krystal Stadium in Kherson, home to FK Krystal Kherson;
- Tsentralnyi Stadion in Mykolaiv, home to MFC Mykolaiv and FK Vast Mykolaiv;
The #Russian missile hit the football stadium. Last year it was fully renovated. Now furniture, technics, computers, a new field with underfloor heating are destroyed. Reportedly, the missile left a giant crater: 5-meter in-depth, 15-meter in-width.
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) June 28, 2022
- Champion Stadium in Irpin, home to FK Irpin [the first football club of Ukraine and Chelsea’s star Andriy Shevchenko];
- Mykhailo Brukvenka Stadium in Makariv;
- Chernihiv Stadium (also known as Yuri Gagarin Stadium) in Chernihiv, home to Desna Chernihiv;
- Chernihiv Arena in Chernihiv, home to FK Chernihiv;
- Stadion Enerhiya in Nova Kakhovka, home to FK Enerhiya Nova Kakhovka;
- Stadion “Start” in Oleshky, home to FK Voskhod.
With the conflict ongoing and with no signs of subsiding from either side right now, we’re saddened but sure that the list of damaged Ukrainian football stadiums by this war will only keep growing in the months to come.