Until a few days ago, Volodymyr Musyak was on the front lines defending Ukraine from Russia’s devastating assault on his nation.
Now he’s preparing to pick up a bow and arrow in the Invictus Games archery competition. The sporting event for active service personnel and veterans who are ill, injured or wounded opens Saturday and ends April 22 in The Hague which calls itself the global center of peace and justice.
Those concepts seem a world away to the team of 19 athletes from Ukraine and their supporters as they settle in The Hague for the games.
According to Team Ukraine, most of the members of the team are active service members.
“Because of their stories, what they have seen and experienced from their own experience - they will tell the international community about the act of inhuman aggression by an unprovoked war that kills Ukrainian military and civilians,” Team Ukraine said.
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered his support to the team.
“The Ukrainian team will participate in the international sports competition 'Invictus Games.’ Members of the team include current service members who are defending Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said. “To win every day and everywhere is important for us today.
“We are proud that, at this time, you represent our country. You are showing the rebellious spirit of the Ukrainian people. Support you. Victory to you!”
The competition was originally scheduled for 2020, but pushed back two years due to the pandemic. The competition was last held in 2018.
The competition of service members was spearheaded by Prince Harry.