Family of Ukrainian rugby league star killed by Russian missile

THE wife and daughter of Ukrainian rugby league star, Volodymyr Mashkin, have been killed during a deadly attack on Kharkiv, in a region of northeast Ukraine.

Mashkin, a 36-year-old Ukrainian international, has earned 13 caps for his country, including an international fixture against Greece before Christmas.

The second-rower debuted on the international stage for Ukraine back in 2009 and was expected to play for his nation in the World Cup qualifiers in October later this year.

Volodymyr’s wife, Vitalina, and his eight-year-old child, Kira, were among the 18 civilians killed in the Russian missile attacks just days ago.

“Just a few months ago, Volodymyr was representing Ukraine in the national side. Sadly this is the reality for these families,” said Matt Girvan, Ukraine’s Australian media manager.

“These families face the risk that they could be bombed and that has happened to this family. It’s really hard.

“Volodymyr has been in their national team for quite a few years and plays for the Kharkiv Legion club over there.

“These are civilian casualties. Missiles are targeting civilian buildings, they aren’t military targets, and it’s a really difficult concept for us in Australia.

“We just don’t have anything similar at all to this in Australia. We are very lucky but over there that is what they are going through.

“The Australian Government has provided support in many ways over time, which has been great and it needs to continue that support.

“We can’t and don’t want to see these deaths continuing to happen.”

Despite the hardships in the Eastern European country, Ukraine will be competing against France, Italy, Wales and Ireland for a place in the World Cup at the qualifiers in October.

Everyone at League Express sends their condolences to Volodymyr and his family and friends.

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