THE stadium of West Ham star Andriy Yarmolenko’s boyhood club in Ukraine has been left destroyed by Russian shelling.
Hammers star Yarmolenko grew up in the city of Chernihiv after his parents moved there from Leningrad.
Desna’s stadium has been destroyed by Russian shellingCredit: REX FEATURES
The stand has been destroyedCredit: REX FEATURES
A massive crater has been left on the pitchCredit: REX FEATURES
Desna play in the Ukrainian Premier LeagueCredit: REX FEATURES
Yarmolenko was given compassionate leave by West Ham when Russia invaded his homeland
The Ukraine international started his professional career at Desna Chernihiv.
But the Ukrainian Premier League side have shared heartbreaking images of the 12,000-seater Yuri Gagarin Stadium, built under the Soviet regime in 1936, decimated by Russian shelling.
It is highly unlikely the ground will be used for football in the near future, with the stands reduced to rubble and the pitch littered with holes and craters.
In a defiant message, Desna said on Instagram: “We will rebuild all this, and we will only become stronger, and you, ‘friendly neighbours’ will live with it all your life!
“Together to victory! The Ukrainian people are a united front, this is our Earth!”
Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons such as shelling, missiles and air strikes.
Yarmolenko has described Russia’s invasion as “pure genocide.”
And in an interview on Ukrainian TV, Yarmolenko added: “This is pure genocide, they’re just destroying Ukrainian people.
“Shooting at civilians, at children, at women, how is this possible? This is just horror.
“I don’t know how to find the words.
“I have seen Russian people holding a concert, how do these people treat it normally? I am not saying all people in Russia are bad.
“I know many people who know what is happening, I know how they react to it.
“But it is clear people are being killed.”