Kovalevsk Kolos midfielder Vladislav Veleten spoke about his service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine after the start of a full-scale Russian attack on Ukraine.
– Correct me if I’m speaking inaccurately. Did you join the ranks of the TRO, and then serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine?
– We were in Kyiv first in the terrorist defense. Nobody knew what would happen, because the first weeks here were hot. When the orcs withdrew from Kiev at the end of March, a law was passed in Ukraine according to which TRO units could be sent to other hot spots. We spent a month at the training center and then went to Donbass.
– In the army, was it difficult to find a common language with brothers-in-arms who could be twice your age?
– For the entire battalion of 800 people, there were 5 guys my age. Somewhere you realize that you can make a bad joke, because not everyone will understand you, but they treat you like a little boy.
– In the Donetsk region, you found yourself directly in a real theater of military operations. What was your most memorable moment while you were there?
– It’s stressful, especially for a guy at 19 years old. Several of my brothers-in-arms died. For some it was easier, and for others it was harder. I had to feel for myself when they poured in different types of weapons, and then there were fewer opportunities to respond.
– How long were you there?
– Two month.
– Did you have the opportunity to keep in shape before the resumption of the championship?
– When I had free time, I trained in Kramatorsk. I made an agreement with the director of the club, who got me the balls. I came there and studied fully. I tried not to smoke, because my colleagues somewhere were poisoning me that I would start smoking too. But I believed that I would return to football.
As much as possible, I tried to keep myself in shape and maintain a routine. I could have been there for six months or more. It seemed then that everything would end quickly and we would win, but reality dictates its own time frame.
– Your teammate Andrei Bogdanov, who also served in the military, criticized the idea of resuming the championship during the war.
– Much was not clear then. Over time, you realize that you need to look at some things less radically. In my opinion, there should be sports. My younger brother plays football. It’s great that even at this time, children have the opportunity to go to classes,” Veleten said.