The city of Lviv, western Ukraine, is home to Karpaty Lviv Football Club, a minor league football team. But as the Russian invasion continues, it is also home to Ukrainian refugees, fleeing violence and seeking safety.
Oleg Smaliychuk, the owner of the team, opened the club’s offices as resting places for hundreds of Ukrainian refugees.
“We left for the sake of our children. We left our town because we were afraid of their state of mind. Katia, a woman who currently lives at the soccer club with her sister-in-law and their four children, spoke through a translator.
CNN’s Jake Tapper visited Katia and her family, who have fled Donetsk, heading west in hopes of avoiding the violence raging in their city.
“I miss my grandmother and I want to go back to my town. Because everything is very foreign to me here,” said Yegor, 11, the oldest of the children.
Smaliychuk, the group’s owner, told CNN he’s been so affected by violence and terrorism that he’s contemplating a new career path.
“I want to change my career. I bought a rifle. I wanted to be a sniper,” he told Tapper. I believe that after what we have seen, what happened in Buchathe number of people who want to join like me has increased tenfold. “
When interviewed by Tapper, Smaliychuk didn’t stop when he heard the sirens of the air raid, an all-too-familiar reminder of his country’s situation. Instead, he continued to reload his gun, focusing on his new call.
“I definitely want to go to a place where I can avenge our children,” he said.
See CNN’s report from the ground: