A Ukrainian European boxing champion has been killed fighting for his country against Russian invading forces.
Maksym Galinichev, 22, is understood to have been serving for Ukraine’s 25th Sycheslav Airborne Brigade in the Luhansk region, where he was killed.
Galinichev won a gold medal for Ukraine at both the 2017 and 2018 European Youth Championships. He also competed at the Summer Youth Olympics in 2018.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, confirmed the death of Galinichev in a post on Twitter.
The official said on March 24 that the boxer had enlisted as a volunteer, and ‘came back to the frontlines twice after being wounded and recovering.’
‘Eternal memory to Hero,’ Gerashchenko wrote, leading the tributes for Galinichev, which flooded in following the news of his death.
Britain’s Team GB Boxing called the news ‘tragic’ in a post on Twitter.
‘Everyone at GB Boxing is saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Ukraine’s 22-year-old European Youth champion Maksym Galinichev,’ the organisation said. ‘Our thoughts and prayers go out to Maksym’s friends and family at this devastating time.’
Vladyslav Heraskevych, a fellow Olympian, praised Galinichev for ‘laying down his life’ for Ukraine. He added: ‘Glory to hero.’
Heraskevych said Galinichev was killed on March 10. He wrote that in Spring 2022, the fallen boxer had refused to participate in that year’s European Boxing Championship so that he could volunteer for the airborne assault troops.
Luhansk has seen brutal fighting since Russian forces poured across the border in February 24, 2022. It is one of four regions Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed in September, as his forces were being pushed by Ukrainian counteroffensives.
His order to annex Luhansk, along with Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, came despite not having full control of any of the four regions.
Moscow has been trying to gain a strong foothold in Ukraine’s east ever since, but continues to meet strong resistance from Kyiv’s defending armies – who are believed to be preparing for yet another counteroffensive that could push Russia back again.
Galinichev is the latest of a number of Ukrainian athletes to have lost their lives in battle, fighting for Ukraine against Russia’s illegal invasion, launched last year.