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Oleksandr Kukin (R) has tragically been killed in the conflict in Ukraine (Image: @Drasdo/Twitter)

Founder of Manchester United fan group in Kyiv killed by Russian invaders with wife and child shot

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The founder of a Manchester United fan group has tragically been killed by Russian soldiers during the invasion on Ukraine, according to reports.

Oleksandr Kukin set up the Kyiv Reds supporters group back in Ukraine’s capital back in 2002 but he and his family have sadly been caught up in the devastating conflict ravaging his country.

Kukin is said to have been trying to help his family flee Kyiv but his car came under artillery fire, thus killing him and wounding both his wife and child. His wife Alina and their daughter have since been operated on and remain in hospital.

In a post online, the Kyiv Reds Facebook page wrote: “Oleksandr Kukin, one of the founders of the Kyiv Reds passed away tragically on the 3rd March 2022.

“Back in 2002, twenty years ago, Oleksandr started Manchester United supporters movement in Kyiv. Later he refocused on his family and could not dedicate all his time to our supporters club, but has often frequently joined us at Bestia Pub to enjoy the Red Devils play. This photo (shown above) shows Oleksandr’s sincerest emotions during the War of Roses derby, 20 February 2021.

“Two weeks ago he tried to evacuate his family from the territory temporarily occupied by Russian armed forces, their car was shot by invaders. Oleksandr’s wife and daughter have both gone through surgery and are now hospitalised, and we regret to say Oleksandr could not make it through.

“During his funeral, family placed a band with Manchester United logo in his coffin, they all knew how much he loved our club. As the famous United chant goes: ‘Going on up to the spirit in the sky, it’s where I’m gonna go when I die, when I die and they lay me to rest, I’m gonna go on the p*** with Georgie Best…’

“You will always be remembered, my friend!”

The post included a picture of Oleksandr’s wife Alina and their daughter lying in hospital beds, along with details of a bank account for donations to be sent to them to help them whilst they recover and bid to survive the current crisis engulfing Ukraine.

So far the war in Ukraine has claimed the lives of more than 900 civilians whilst wounding over 1,400 more, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, while more than 190,000 people have been evacuated via humanitarian corridors.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are one of several clubs to have ended agreements with Russian sponsors in the wake of the invasion. A club statement confirmed at the end of last month that United’s partnership with Russian airline Aeroflot had been cancelled.

“In light of events in Ukraine, we have withdrawn Aeroflot’s sponsorship rights. We share the concerns of our fans around the world and extend our sympathies to those affected,” a club spokesman confirmed. The decision ended a near 10-year partnership between the club and airline.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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