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Ukraine-Russia crisis

Ukraine-Russia invasion: Ex-Roma boss Fonseca condemns 'unacceptable war' after being stranded in Kyiv

8:50 pm AEDT 25/2/22
Paulo Fonseca
The Portuguese, who was head coach of Shakhtar Donetsk between 2016 and 2019, is among those struggling to get out of Eastern Europe

Former Roma manager Paulo Fonseca is among those to have spoken out against an “unacceptable war” in Ukraine, with the Portuguese coach among those left stranded in Kyiv following the invasion by Russia.

The 48-year-old, who spent three years as head coach of Shakhtar Donetsk between 2016 and 2019, is married to Ukrainian Katerina Ostoushko and lives in Kiev with their son.

They had been hoping to head elsewhere before political tension boiled over in Eastern Europe, but they are now unable to leave Ukraine’s capital after commercial flights were grounded and roads become log-jammed by those attempting to cross the border into neighbouring Poland.

What has been said?

Fonseca has said in a video post from his family home: “Hello everyone. I am in Kyiv.

“My family and I are going through a very tough time in the middle of an unacceptable war. However, we believe peace will eventually prevail and we must remain strong.

“I've received messages from many people in Portugal, Italy and all around the world, and I want to thank everyone for the care that you have shown my family and I at this time. Hope to see all of you soon.”

The bigger picture

Fonseca added when speaking to Jornal de Noticias: “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.”

His wife Katerina posted on Instagram: “Worst morning ever. Pain. Anger, anger, anger and pain. My little son didn't deserve the war. The children of Ukraine did not deserve the war.”

Domestic football in Ukraine has been shut down, while UEFA are expected to announce that Saint Petersburg will be stripped of Champions League final hosting duties as institutions around the world begin to sever ties with Russia.

Further reading