World champion Ukrainian fisherman quits team, stays in Italy after competition to avoid draft

A member of the Ukrainian international fishing team quit after the World Cup competition in Italy and decided to stay behind instead of return to his home country. Artur Bilan did not want to go back to Ukraine only to fight in the war and said he has received two draft notices already. He has a wife and a small child.



"We have a small child who needs to go to school and not hear explosions," he told his teammate Danyo Lyasov. "And, of course, my wife doesn't want me to go to war or be recycled. But it is true - I have already received two calls and we have no opportunity to resolve the issue. And we want to live! Of course, I understand that my career in Ukraine is over, but this is my life and I have to live it and I am my own judge. This decision was difficult for me."

Lyasov posted about it on his Facebook page, saying "Artur Bilan made 'such a difficult decision' after his unsuccessful performance at the World Cup as a member of the Ukrainian national team. While everyone was sleeping and resting before going home. Please spread the word."

Bilan's Instagram page shows pictures of fishing, awards, competition and dogs. In one photo, he poses with the Ukrainian flag in Mantua, Italy. Other photos show him with his daugther.

In August, it was reported that Ukraine had around 500,000 troops, which included active-duty, reservists and paramilitary troops. Leadership in Ukraine has prevented males from leaving the country since early on in the war, which began in 2022, with Russia's invasion of their neighbor. That ban has applied to some 9.5 million men, as there are few exceptions.

This martial law, which was enacted in February 2022, prevents most men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving Ukraine, and all of those men who remain may be subject to a draft. The policy has been wildly unpopular.

Ukraine has been drafting reinforcements since spring, in advance of their counter offensive against Russia. While Ukraine has not released casualty figures, the US government estimated that between 124,000 and 131,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been either killed or wounded since February 2022. This information was allegedly leaked by US airman Jack Teixeira amid a trove of documents leaked to a Discord server.
 

Image: Title: ukrainian angler
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