The UK’s backing of Ukraine is an example of “pure support”, the Ukrainian deputy minister for veterans affairs has said at the Invictus Games.
Inna Drahanchuk said the war is a “genocide of our nation” and there is no philosophy to the Russian onslaught.
Ms Drahanchuk, head of the governmental delegation for the Ukraine team at The Hague, said coming to the event was a “very difficult” decision for the team to make.
She told the PA news agency: “They didn’t want to leave their friends, the Ukrainian soldiers, because most of our team members are in the battlefields in the east of Ukraine and other territories which were occupied by Russians, and they didn’t want to leave their positions.”
UK is an example of pure support, not diplomacy, not political. This is the strongest support which we have for today, one of the strongest
But she said it was decided that it could be “one more battlefield for them just to bring this truth here”.
The Ukrainian team have been cheered and applauded by other nations since the Games started at the weekend.
Asked about the support her country has received from the UK Government, she said the UK is “one of the biggest friends for Ukraine and one of the greatest motivators for us”.
She added: “UK is an example of pure support, not diplomacy, not political. This is the strongest support which we have for today, one of the strongest.”
At the Games on Tuesday, the Ukrainian team received 3,000 euro and traditional gifts from the Korean team as an act of solidarity.
The Korean team held a ceremony to hand over the donations and gifts.
Speaking with the help of a translator, Taeho Han, head of delegation in the Korean team, said Koreans know how “painful” war is.
Meanwhile, in the stands at a sporting event in the Zuiderpark, the Duke of Sussex briefly met Lieutenant General Lance Landrum, deputy chairman of the military committee at Nato headquarters in Brussels.
General Landrum told the PA news agency: “We had a chance to meet very, very briefly and we thanked each other for our support.
“I thanked him for his support and what he does for these Games, and how important it is for the families, especially, and for the athletes as well.
“In just the brief time I had with him, his energy and enthusiasm and sincerity for the support of these Games is clearly evident.”
On the subject of the war in Ukraine, General Landrum said the “fighting spirit” of the Ukrainians may have been underestimated.
Asked how he would assess Ukraine’s military ability, the Nato military chief said: “What we’ve seen is a huge fighting spirit from the Ukrainian forces.
“We’ve seen them be creative, and we’ve seen innovation and we’ve seen a lot of courage.
“They know their home terrain and they’re fighting for their homes and their own families, and their own citizens.
“I think that that spirit is something that is really unpredictable from an adversary’s point.
“I think maybe they were underestimated. There has been some support from outside nations, but the fighting spirit of Ukraine has really saved the day for them, and we are with them as they continue the fight in the east.”
Asked what he would say to those who are frustrated with Nato not intervening in Ukraine, he said: “Nato is concerned about all the nations in Europe and the transatlantic area, and we’re focused on the deterrence and defence for the allied nations, and we are in great support of Ukraine, the Ukrainian forces, the Ukrainian citizens and their government.
“Nato has been very focused on this and the alliance nations as individual nations have really stepped up their support in their own way based on their own decisions with Ukraine.”
General Landrum was at the Invictus Games with a group of military representatives from Nato alliance nations and some partner nations.
He said he planned to see some of the Ukrainian team in the park, adding: “Ukraine is right now undergoing obviously a lot of stress in their nation and in their citizens.
“And we’re very proud of the Ukrainian athletes who are here, as we are of all the athletes, but because of the special circumstances with Ukraine, it particularly hits your heart to see their athletes here from that nation.
“And Nato’s very proud to support the Ukrainian athletes. Nato pitched in through our Nato trust fund for medical rehabilitation to bring the athletes here.
“And I know a lot of allied nations have stepped up to help with the logistical support of the athletes and the families, and so the energy and enthusiasm that the Ukrainian athletes bring with all the others is really special this week.”
Harry founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.
Harry was in various venues at the Games on Tuesday.