'I was training for London Marathon but was interrupted by missile and drone attacks'

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“If countries do not want to give us weapons, give us prosthetics so we can keep fighting,” say Ukrainian soldiers taking on the London Marathon.

Wounded Ukrainian and British soldiers met to share their stories and experiences ahead of taking part in the London Marathon.

Ukrainian marines, who have lost their limbs in the war, were joined by British veterans who are members of Blesma and The Limbless Veterans Charity, to take part in a Q&A session to share their stories and experiences.

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The initiative aims to bring servicemen together to support each other through this physically and mentally challenging journey to recovery.

Two of the Ukrainian marines who attended were Oleksiy Rudenko and Heorhii ‘Gosha’ Roshk, who will be running the London Marathon this weekend to raise money for injured soldiers back in Ukraine. 

Mr Roshka, who had an arm amputated and was held in captivity, told LondonWorld: “The most important thing for me is to help my comrades which is why I agreed to run this marathon and for the world to see we are unbreakable and we move forward despite everything.” 

During the Q&A, Mr Rudenko, who lost his leg and is now a military instructor in Odessa, said: “We are not alone and disability means nothing if you move forward. We are not running this marathon for ourselves. We are running because Ukrainians need support and there are others with disabilities and we are raising money to help them. If countries do not want to give us weapons, give us prosthetics so we can keep fighting.”

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he told LondonWorld: “I was training for about three months [for the marathon] but unfortunately because of the constant missiles and drone attacks it has been interrupted on a number of occasions.”

Tony Bloomfield, operations director for Blesma, said: “Ukraine is dealing with almost 60,000 military and civilian amputees since the Russian invasion and the legacy will last through generations.

“Our experience dates back to the aftermath of WW1 and we have deep expertise in helping military personnel come to terms with the loss of limb and understand that their lives are not over.”

The London Marathon takes place on Sunday April 21.

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