Ukrainians from around the world clad in blue and yellow shirts and flags arrived in Glasgow to support the country’s national team in a World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Wednesday.
Although pub and bar gatherings at first glance look like other international matches, the atmosphere brings with it an inevitable and constant reminder of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“You have to understand one thing, as much as we are experiencing great feelings, nothing compares to what the people in Ukraine are doing, we are here for them,” said Vitaly Mitninsky, who came from New York, where he Live, to watch the match.
Departure was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed after the Russian offensive, which Moscow calls a “special operation”.
The winner of the Hampden Park match will take on Wales next Sunday in a final qualifying match in Cardiff, which will qualify for the Qatar World Cup in November.
Organizers were expecting many Ukrainian fans living in the UK, but it was clear at the bar in the city center that many of them had come from afar.
Ukrainian fans from Australia, the United States, Germany and Israel were among the drinkers before the game, handshakes – and exchanging drinks – with friendly and welcoming Scottish fans.