: Ukrainian soldiers are playing football in conflict zone
Society14:52 Apr. 12, 2016
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Ukrainian soldiers are playing football in conflict zone

It's a nice and relaxing activity after the years spent under enemy fire, Ukrainian troops say 

Ukrainian soldiers who serve in eastern Ukraine are now on a football field, taking part in a friendly championship.

Teams play under the colours of their military divisions. Artillery, infantry, tank operators and intelligence servicemen - they are all here.

Igor is a Maidan activist and a Ukrainian soldier. Now he is a member of a team named after a Major-General and Hero of Ukraine Sergiy Kulchytskyiv, who was killed in Slovyansk in May 2014.

Read also Ukraine's Slovyansk marks first anniversary of liberation from Russian-backed militants

Igor, Ukrainian soldier: "I've spent two years in the Kulchytskyi battalion, and playing under this banner is an incredible honour."

Soldiers say they are glad to participate in the tournament. It's a nice and relaxing activity after the years spent under enemy fire.

Andriy, Ukrainian soldier "I served in the Donetsk and Luhansk region, and now I'm a goalkeeper. It's good to be here, far away from the war, closer to the peaceful life."

The tournament begins with a minute of silence in tribute to the fallen soldiers. Then the soldiersfootball players walk out on the field. In the first match, Signal Corps are paying against the General staff members.

Read also First monument opens to Ukrainian soldiers killed in Donbas warzone (photos)

We started training for the tournament two months ago, we had very intensive training, running in the snow and all. So we are fully prepared, hope, our opponents are not too scared.

The tournament features 10 teams overall, one of them consists of volunteers who help the soldiers in the conflict regions. Servicemen are also among the spectators. They say they don't support any particular team, but rather all their brothers-in-arms. The winner of the competition will be known in June.

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