A Ukrainian football player said that the Russian invasion of his homeland completely changed his view of life

Vitaly Mykolenko.Getty Images / Stanislav Widmed

  • Everton left-back Vitaly Mikolenko says the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed his view of life.

  • The Ukrainian footballer said the conflict made his personal problems seem unimportant.

  • “Now I realize it’s small problems,” the 23-year-old told reporters.

Ukraine international defender Vitaly Mykolenko says Russia’s invasion of his country has given him a new perspective on life.

Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Thousands of civilians have died in the conflict and millions have fled the country.

“Before the war, I thought my problems were the biggest, now I realize they are small problems,” Mikolenko, who plays for English Premier League side Everton, told a news conference on Wednesday, according to the Press Association.

“When the war started, I was just thinking about my country and my team and doing my best.”

Mykolenko moved from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, to England in January, just weeks before the invasion began. The 23-year-old said he remains in regular contact with his family, who are still in Ukraine.

“My parents live in Kyiv now, and we are in contact with them,” he said. “My friends and relatives are in different parts of the country, and we try to keep in touch with them, but this is not always possible.

“But I am in contact with all of them, thank God they are safe now.”

Oleksandr Petrakov, coach of the Ukraine national team, earlier spoke about the impact of the invasion on the players of the national team.

Speaking ahead of his side’s win over Scotland earlier this month, the 64-year-old told reporters it was difficult to maintain the team’s focus amid problems.

“It is a very difficult task to prepare your team for the game when every player thinks of mothers, fathers, relatives and family back home in Ukraine,” he said.

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