ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 150

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Body of former Israeli soccer coach released as part of Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap

Dmytro Fialka, who moved from Beersheba to Ukraine in 2015, was killed while fighting against Russian forces in September

Illustrative: An employee cleans the debris at the remains of a car shop that was destroyed after a Russian attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, October 11, 2022. (Leo Correa/AP)
Illustrative: An employee cleans the debris at the remains of a car shop that was destroyed after a Russian attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, October 11, 2022. (Leo Correa/AP)

The Ukrainian presidency said on Tuesday that 32 of its soldiers had been freed and the body of an Israeli citizen recovered in the latest prisoner swap with Russia.

“Another exchange of prisoners took place today. We managed to free 32 of our soldiers and get back the body of Israeli citizen Dmytro Fialka,” Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s office, wrote on Telegram.

Fialka, 39, was shot dead while fighting the Russian army in September. It was not clear where he was killed.

He moved from Israel to Ukraine in 2015 to nurse his sick grandmother, leaving behind his mother and brother in Beersheba. Fialko decided to remain in Ukraine after meeting his future wife, his friend Igor Yarkayev told the Ynet news site in September.

Before immigrating, Fialka coached the youth soccer club of Maccabi Beersheba and continued his passion for coaching while living in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

“He started to coach at several clubs in Lviv and recently took a training course in Donetsk to obtain a UEFA coaching license, but just as the course was about to wrap up, war broke out,” Yarkayev said.

Fialka subsequently enlisted in Ukraine’s army.

Yarkayev told Ynet that he last spoke to his friend in August, while he was still in basic training.

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