Disability sport in Ukraine has 'died' thanks to the Russian invasion, the country's Paralympic boss says

Disability sport in Ukraine has 'died' thanks to the Russian invasion, the country's Paralympic boss says
Athletes from Ukraine at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games.Getty/Mohd Rasfan
  • Funding for Paralympians in Ukraine has been diverted elsewhere because of the Russian invasion.
  • Ukraine's Paralympic boss now fears the country's Paralympic movement is dead because of it.

The president of the Ukraine's National Paralympic Committee says the country's Paralympic movement has been destroyed as a result of the Russian invasion.

Valeriy Sushkevych told BBC Sport that the invasion has had a damaging impact on funding, adding that he believes the "movement has died."

"Today we have many problems continuing the development of our Paralympic movement," he said.

"I and the Ukraine Paralympic family are afraid that the movement has died, because all money from our country has been sent to the military to fight the Russian military aggression."

Ukraine finished second in the medal table at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, which began in March just a week after the invasion had begun.


Sushkevych said he was proud of his athletes bringing the world together to stand against war while in Beijing.

"At the Winter Paralympic Games, our first goal was to fight against the war and fight for peace for Ukraine, peace for all," he said.

"All nations were united around our team. We united all nations in the Paralympic Games against the war."

Russia invaded Ukraine in late February with President Vladimir Putin baselessly citing the need to "de-nazify" the neighboring country.

Over 3,300 civilians have been killed in the conflict according to the United Nations, though the organization admits that figure is likely "thousands higher."


More than 5.7 million Ukrainians have also fled the country, reports the BBC.

Speaking at the Deaflympics in Brazil, Sushkevych said he was fearful that that the diversion of funds to resist the invasion will jeopardize the future of Ukraine's Paralympic athletes.

"The best athletes in the world in Paralympic sport don't know if they can continue their sports," he said.

"After Beijing, many people wrote about the miracle of Ukraine at the Paralympics, but miracles can die if nobody supports them."