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Body of ‘kidnapped’ footballer found in ‘Russian death pit’ in Ukrainian village

Oleksandr Sukhenko was a gifted footballer who had come to his village’s aid after the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Picture: FC Kudrivka/Facebook/@Kudrivka)

A talented footballer who ‘helped to the end’ is among civilians said to have been massacred by Russian forces in Ukraine amid mounting reports of war crimes.

Oleksandr Sukhenko and his parents were reportedly ‘kidnapped’ from their home before being found in a shallow grave just outside Motyzhyn, 31 miles to the west of Kyiv.

The 25-year-old’s mother, Olha, was the village head and her husband, Igor, was also actively involved in community life through football.

Discovered in a forest after the village was recaptured by Ukrainian forces, the grave contained the bodies of around 30 civilians, according to a regional football organisation.

In a statement on Facebook, Kyiv-Svyatoshinsky Football described the family as ‘exemplary’ and said: ‘They desperately defended their native village when the hour of trouble came, and died like heroes.’

Igor was described as a ‘knowledgeable entrepreneur’ and the co-president of the rural Kolos football club, who worked to develop young players.

The post goes on to say that Oleksandr helped many people to escape the village while it was under occupation by Russian forces, whose withdrawal from population centres on the approaches to Kyiv last week has left behind evidence of horrific war crimes.

The family was the victim of a ‘violent kidnapping’ before their deaths, according to the organisation.

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