The Stranded Sons of Shakhtar Donetsk

One of Ukraine’s top soccer teams rushed its youth academy players out of the path of war in February. Months later, many of the boys are stuck in a lonely limbo.

SPLIT, Croatia — It was in their moment of triumph, when they had beaten their opponents and come together to collect their medals, when some of the boys were overcome with sadness, when the tears welled in their eyes.

The teenagers, a mix of 13- and 14-year-olds representing one of the youth squads of the top Ukrainian soccer team Shakhtar Dontesk, had just won a tournament in Split, the Croatian city that has provided them with a refuge from war.

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