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Ukraine-Russia crisis

Ex-Roma boss Fonseca safe in Romania after fleeing Kyiv in 30-hour bus journey

11:25 pm AEDT 28/2/22
Paulo Fonseca rueda de prensa
The Portuguese coach was among those struggling to escape the Ukrainian capital following the Russian invasion, but his family are now OK

Former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca has confirmed he and his young family have been able to escape Kyiv and are now safe in Romania after leaving Ukraine in a 30-hour bus journey.

The 48-year-old, who spent three years in charge of Shakhtar Donetsk between 2016 and 2019, was among those left stranded in the Ukrainian capital following an invasion by Russia that led to all commercial flights being grounded.

He was left stuck with wife Katerina Ostroushko and their son, who was born in 2019, but they have now been able to flee through Moldova and into the relative safety of Romania.

What has been said?

Fonseca has said in a video posted on Instagram: “My family and I have left Ukraine. Following a bus trip which lasted over 30 hours, we are now in Romania.

“I hope to make it back to Portugal tomorrow, at which point I will give more details on our evacuation and thank all the people who have helped us tremendously over the last few days.

“We are safe, but the nightmare continues for the Ukrainian people who continue to fight heroically.

“I make an appeal to everyone to do what they can to support them as they continue to suffer in such an unfair and cruel way.”

The bigger picture

Fonseca had previously told Jornal de Noticias of finding himself caught up in an Eastern European conflict: “I woke up at five in the morning with five explosions in a row.

“I had a flight scheduled for today, but now it is impossible to leave here, not least because the airports are already destroyed and the airspace has been closed.

“This is the worst day of my life. Now it's time to wait and be lucky, and pray that a bomb doesn't fall on us.”

Fonseca’s wife has posted on Instagram: “Our friends from all over the world. You are absolutely incredible!

“Thank you for your great support, your prayers and help in our darkest days. Thanks to you, my family and I are safe now. I will forever remember your kindness.

“Every helping hand, every word, I'm absolutely crushed. My heart is broken. So much pain and fear in two terrible days. Crime war I hate you, Ukraine I love you.”

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