A world kickboxing champion who fought on the Ukraine frontline from the very first day of the conflict has been killed by a Russian bullet.
Tributes have poured in for Ukrainian fighter Vitaly Merinov, 32, was killed on March 31.
Mayor of Frankivsk, Ruslan Martsynkiv, confirmed the sad news that Merniov died in hospital after being hit while fighting against despot Vladimir Putin's forces.
READ MORE: Putin will use nuclear weapons in Ukraine and 'doesn't give a damn' says Russian insider
The four-time kickboxing champion had previously been injured in the fighting but returned to the frontline soon afterward, then receiving a gunshot wound to the leg.
Speaking of the tragic death, Mayor Martsynkiv said: "During one of the fights, Vitaly received a gunshot wound in his leg. He recovered and returned to the front again and defended Ukraine to the last breath.
"He has a wife and a two-year-old daughter left. Sincere condolences to the family and loved ones. Eternal memory to the Hero!"
The 32-year-old, according to The Sun, had signed up for frontline duties on the first day of the Russian invasion back in February 2022.
Vitaly leaves behind a wife and daughter.
One tribute from two-time Winter Olympian Vladyslav Heraskevych, read: "Vitaly Merinov died at night from wounds received in battle.
Polish woman claiming to be Madeleine McCann finally gets answers as DNA results in
"Four-time world kickboxing champion Vitaly went to war on the very first day of the full-scale invasion. He defended Ukraine until his last breath."
Another tribute read: "Vitaly Merinov died fighting for freedom, Justice & democracy. This hero will not be forgotten."
Vitaly's contributions to sport had earned him the title of master of sports in boxing as well as a champion run in MMA.
Ukraine's sports minister Vadym Huttsait revealed the Russian invasion had now taken the lives of 262 Ukrainian athletes.
For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.
- Gangsters 'put £250k bounty on head of thug who shot Olivia Pratt-Korbel dead'
- 'UK's luckiest squatter' lived in historic Victorian hotel for free before horror blaze
- Brit 'danger tourist' Miles Routledge arrested by Taliban 'called them his Talibros'
- Naked model dies after plummeting six floors from luxury flat as murder probe launched
- Mum-of-five raging after registered child sex offender sent to help family move house
Source: Read Full Article
Albino panda believed to be only one of its kind spotted living in the wild
Racy singer who sparked outrage with lewd shows has Instagram account banned
Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose is the namesake of Rose Medical Center
Hissing 11-foot alligator lunges at people in something out Jurassic Park
Pilot says just a matter of time until UFO brings down jet after near misses