Tributes paid to founder of Ukrainian Manchester United fan group killed by Russian forces
The club said it was "deeply saddened" after finding out about the death of Aleksander Kukin.
Tributes have been paid to the founder of a Ukrainian Manchester United fan group after the club confirmed his death.
With the devastating conflict in Ukraine still ongoing, the club said it was “deeply saddened” after finding out that Aleksander Kukin, one of the founding members of the Kyiv Reds supporters’ club and a much-admired Manchester United fan, had been killed after his car was shot at by Russian forces.
According to a statement by the Kyiv Reds on Monday (21 March), Aleksander’s wife and daughter were also in the vehicle at the time, and were caught in the crossfire, but survived the tragedy, and have since undergone operations in hospital.
“We send our heartfelt condolences for their loss and best wishes for their recovery, as they attempt to deal with these awful events,” Manchester United said.
The Kyiv Reds began all the way back in 2002, and Aleksander was said to have been “instrumental” in its creation.
In recent years, the club says that family commitments meant Aleksander could not commit as much of his time to the supporters’ club as he did previously, but his enthusiasm still remained, and a recent photo shared by the group showed him enjoying the 4-2 win over Leeds just a few weeks before the end of his life.
Since his passing, supporters have taken to social media to pay tribute to Kukin’s “energy and passion” for Manchester United.
One fan, Ivan, wrote: “He used to take me to games in the local pub in Kyiv and drive me home after the midweek games when I was a kid. [He] posted my United articles on [the] Ukrainian Reds website and helped the growth of that movement nearly single-handedly, paying from his own pocket. Great great man.”
Another fan wrote: “RIP to our fellow red.
“Praying for his wife and daughter to be okay and to get through the horrible circumstances forced upon them that they have had to face recently.”
Manchester United says it is exploring a number of ways in which it can “offer its support” to both Aleksander’s family and the Kyiv Reds.
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