‘We are not alone:’ Ukrainian soldiers compete at 2022 Warrior Games

Wounded warriors compete in sporting events as Russo-Ukraine conflict continues

With the Russo-Ukraine conflict still ongoing abroad, many Ukrainian athletes have come stateside to participate in the 2022 Warrior Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

ORLANDO, Fla. – As Ukraine observes its Independence Day amidst its ongoing conflict with Russia, soldiers from the war-torn country are competing in the Warrior Games to bring back the gold and hope to their country.

“This win makes me have hope. A win in Ukraine is possible, too, because before this game, I was in war — a big battle with Russian troops,” Pfc. Maiia Moskvych said.

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Moskvych told News 6 that right before she came to compete in the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games, she was pushing back Russian troops with the Ukrainian military.

The 2022 Warrior Games are being held at Disney and consist of a series of sporting events comparable to the Olympics. Each athlete is a wounded warrior from any military branch, including some international armed forces like Canada’s and Ukraine’s.

Moskyvch is currently competing in archery and shooting and said that when she won gold in the rifle standing category this past weekend, she felt even better as she celebrates Ukraine’s Independence Day.

Moskvych said, “In the United States, I want to represent better for Ukraine and bring honor to Ukraine with competition.”

Wednesday also marks six months since Russia began invading Ukraine. The battle is still raging on in the eastern part of the country.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine was reborn the day Russia attacked.

“What for us is the end of war? We used to say peace. Now, we say victory,” Zelenskyy said.

Victory, according to Moskvych, could be seen by her participation in the games.

Back in 2015, she was a volunteer in Ukraine’s military, but during a mission, she was hit by an explosion, causing injuries to her back and contusions.

“Warrior games, they are more about sports. I get to show that I can do something, and (shooting) and archery help me to calm down, concentrate and make my health more better,” Moskyvch said.

The Warrior Games’ medical team said that’s the magic of these games, which help to provide healing while competing.

Susan Kiss is a Major in the Army Reserve but is currently a nurse practitioner with SOCOM during the games.

She said, “In various way, physical (elements of the Warrior Games help). Of course, they’re training and competing, but mentally, these are guys that are used to giving to the team, and it brings them back from sort of a dark time in their life. It gives them hope for the future.”

Moskvych said her team will keep up the good fight here at the Warrior Games to inspire her own nation to keep going.

“I take the spirit of win and give the spirit to my unit, to everybody in Ukraine that win is possible,” she said. “We are not alone in this war.”

The Warrior Games will last until Aug. 28.

If you would like to root for your favorite team or cheer on Ukraine you can click this link to their website and watch online.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.