The National Olympic Committee of Ukraine (NOCU) donated 25,000 UAH ($826) to Kira Obedinskaya, the 12-year-old daughter of a Ukrainian water polo player killed in Mariupol. She will receive an additional payment of 5,000 UAH ($165) each month until the end of the year.
Father of Kira, 39 years old Eugine Obedinsky, was a former captain of the Ukrainian national water polo team. He was killed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine on March 17; original reports indicated he was killed in the bombing, with more recent information indicating the possibility of being killed by a Russian sniper.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met Kira and her grandfather in his hospital room last week:
Kira’s mother was killed as a baby, meaning her father’s death left her an orphan. She was reportedly abducted by Russian soldiers during the shelling of Mariupol, the strategic port city in southern Ukraine that has been the scene of some of the heaviest bombings since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
The Guardian reports that Kira was walking with a group of family and neighbors, where she was injured when they came across a minefield. She was taken to a hospital in Donetsk before being reunited with her grandfather Alexander ObedinksyEugene’s father.
The Guardian says she was hospitalized with shrapnel around her ear, face and legs, citing her grandfather.
The National Olympic Committee of Ukraine announced in early March that it would release funds to “support the Ukrainian Olympic community” through a fund created by the IOC, Olympic Solidarity and the European Olympic Committees, as well as Sergii Bubka, IOC member and legend Ukrainian sportswoman.
The first installment of $200,000 (USD) was provided to evacuate athletes, coaches and their family members from dangerous areas of the country, provide shelter, transport and logistics services and prepare the national team for rhythmic gymnastics for major international competitions to come.
The 60,000 UAH that was awarded to Kira in 2022 is about three months’ salary for the median Ukrainian worker.
Other groups around the world have started collecting donations for Kira. American water polo club Masters Blue Thunder USA donated $1,000, which was matched by water polo goal maker Anti Wave. Anti Wave have also pledged a percentage of international goals sold from their Australian operation ‘towards the direct support of the families of the victims of this horrific conflict’.
Estimates vary, but Ukraine says tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the siege of Mariupol. The United Nations counts 3,309 confirmed civilian deaths in the country so far, although it acknowledges that the true figures are likely much higher. The UN also estimates that 12.7 million people have been displaced by the war.
On Saturday, Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform reported that most Russian ground forces had left Mariupol.
Anti Wave is a partner of SwimSwam.