Their country was brutally attacked, and some of their cities were reduced to rubble. After almost three months of war in Ukraine, there is no end in sight to the destruction.
Even if Vladimir Putin (69) wants to sell the war as a special operation to save Ukraine, the local people know exactly what is happening. “It’s not salvation, it’s destruction,” Ukrainian MMA fighter and world champion Yaroslav Amosov (28) told CNN. Amosow is considered the best fighter of his generation.
He should have defended his world title at Wembley Stadium in London on Friday. But he can’t think about traveling at the moment. The situation in his hometown of Irpin, about 20 kilometers from the capital Kyiv, is too preoccupying for him.
“It’s hard to look at a city that was once full of happiness”
The city was heavily targeted by the Russian aggressors. As early as April, the authorities said that around 50 percent of the critical infrastructure had been destroyed.
“It’s hard to look at a city that was once full of happiness and life,” explains Amosow. “Now when you look at the city that’s on fire and being destroyed, it’s a horrible sight.”
Amosow quickly recognized the seriousness of the situation. Four days before the war broke out, he had returned from a training camp in Thailand. As it became increasingly clear that the Russians would launch an invasion, he joined the Ukrainian forces at Irpin. Before that, he brought his wife and son to safety on the outskirts of Ukraine.
“In the first few days it was very difficult to get used to all these events and to see people running from their homes,” says the MMA fighter. There was chaos. Countless people ran around not knowing what to do.
Because Ukraine’s defenses had to be built up at lightning speed, Amosov and his comrades only received brief training in the use of weapons. Nevertheless, they knew how to defend themselves against the enemy.
The longer the war lasted, the more troubled Amosow was about the whole situation. In his darkest moments, he didn’t know if he would survive the day. It was only thanks to the enormous help and friendliness of his compatriots that he persevered. “I’m proud that there are people like that and that we live in a wonderful country like this.”
“How can you act like that?”
The joy was all the greater when a large part of Irpin was freed from the Russian occupiers. It’s one of the moments he remembers the most. Nevertheless, Amosow knows that the war is far from over.
For him, Russia’s acts of war are inexplicable. “I don’t understand how you can fight so cruelly without any rules. How can you act like that? How many people were injured? How many have died? How many have lost their homes? And the Russians call that a salvation?”
Now that the fighting in Irpin has died down, Amosow wants to get back in the ring as soon as possible. He’s already training hard. “Now I’m back in shape. I want to come back and defend my belt.” But he doesn’t have to worry about this. His mother had kept it safe for him and hidden it. (ced)