Remains of Ukrainian stadium damaged by Russia find home in Berlin

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The joy of the European Championship exists parallel to the suffering caused by Russia’s war of aggression, says Bärbel Bas, President of the German Bundestag.

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Remains of the Sonyachny Stadium from Kharkiv, damaged by Russian missiles, have found a new temporary home in Berlin.

German Bundestag President Bärbel Bas and Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev unveiled the interactive installation by the Ukrainian Association of Football in front of the German Parliament building.

The stand includes an interactive installation with the story of Sonyachny. Using virtual reality, it’s possible to experience the stadium in real-time, seeing its current state.

The damaged tribune was first displayed in Munich, where the Ukrainian team has played their first match at this year’s euros against Romania. The team has since been knocked out of the tournament.

Kharkiv was one of four Ukrainian host cities for the Euros in 2012. In 2022, the stadium on display was destroyed by Russian attacks.  

So far, 500 sports facilities in Ukraine, including 77 football stadiums, have been damaged or destroyed by Russian bomb and missile attacks. 

Speaking to the press, Bas emphasized how this project communicates a message of duality: the joy of the European Championship exists in parallel to the suffering caused by Russia’s war of aggression.

She also expressed her support for the Ukrainian people.

“Today is the 19th day of the European Championship in Germany. That corresponds to the number of days in June alone on which air strikes were launched in Kharkiv. 468 hours. 19.5 days. In this sense, this stand is a memorial – a reminder that not far from here Russia is committing genocide on a daily basis, from which even soccer is not immune,” Ambassador Makeiv told journalists.

‘Peace has a price’

The damaged stand was first exhibited in Munich, where the Ukrainian team played its first match at this year’s European Championships against Romania. The Ukrainian team lost the game 3-0.

The stand then travelled with the team to Düsseldorf where it was again put on display.

After three games resulting in a loss, a win and a draw, the Ukrainian team was eliminated from the tournament.

During the team’s last match in Stuttgart against Belgium, Ukrainian fans sent a sign. From the stands, they held a banner with the words “Peace has a price” along with a portrait of fallen soldier and football fan Nazariy Hryntsevich.

The image of Hryntsevich was created using artificial intelligence (AI) and the photos of 182 other fallen Ukrainian soldiers, all of whom were known to be avid fans of their local soccer clubs.

If the circumstances had been different, they would probably have been at the games in person or supporting their team in front of the TV. Instead, their static images radiate emotion and resilience.

Watch more in the player above.



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