Russian shelling destroys Ukrainian stadium of Andriy Yarmolenko’s boyhood club

Russian shelling has left Ukrainian football club Desna Chernihiv's stadium in ruins.

A Ukrainian football page on Twitter posted a clip of the horrifying scenes at Chernihiv Stadium, formerly known as Yuri Gagarin Stadium, in mid-west Ukraine. The footage showed the ground in ruin with its stands wrecked and rubble everywhere.

The 12,000-seater, built under the Soviet regime in 1936, belonged to the boyhood club of West Ham United star Andriy Yarmolenko, who play in the Ukrainian Premier League. From the devastation visible in the clip, it is highly unlikely the ground will be used for football in the near future.

Twitter account Zorya Londonsk tweeted: “Take a look at the devastation that RU shelling brought to UPL side’s Desna Chernihiv home ground – The Yuri Gagarin Stadium… Andriy Yarmolenko’s boyhood club.”

Another pic showed a distressingly large crater in the pitch where a missile had landed. Standing inside was a Ukrainian pop star who showed the scale of the devastation.

The caption read: “Here’s famous Ukrainian singer/songwriter Svyatoslav Vakarchuk (Okean Elzy) standing in a crater left by a missile / shell in the middle of Desna’s pitch yday…

“Top flight Ukrainian matches took place here in the autumn… They won’t be back for a long while.”

Hammers star Yarmolenko grew up in the city of Chernihiv after his parents moved there from Leningrad (St Petersburg). He started his career off with amateur side Yunist Chernihiv before signing for Desna in 2004.

The winger spent three years with the club, making nine first team appearances and scoring four goals as a teen before his big move to Dynamo Kyiv in 2007. The team finished sixth out of 14 clubs in the Ukrainian league last season.

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