The IJF has helped 300 Ukrainian children evacuate the country ©IJF

The International Judo Federation (IJF) has helped the Ukrainian Ministry of Youth and Sport and its National Olympic Committee to evacuate 300 children and 27 coaches from the war-torn country.

The Ukrainian Judo Federation (UJF) also assisted the operation, with accommodation now found for the refugees which ensures that they are able to continue practicing judo near to the Romanian city of Constanța.

"Our young sportspeople were welcomed by George Teseleanu, the owner of the local sports club on a bank of the Black Sea," said a UJF spokesman.

"As long as the war continues in Ukraine, our young judoka will be provided with accommodation and food and they will be able to continue their studying and training process."

The evacuation took three days and the young judoka hail from all around Ukraine, including regions around Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Donetsk, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Vinnytsia, Cherkasy, Khmelnytskyi, Volyn and Transcarpathia.

"Firstly, I am sincerely grateful to everyone who helped in this hard time," said UJF President Mykhailo Koshliak.

The judoka and coaches have been housed at the Academy Hotel Venus Resort in Constanța ©IJF
The judoka and coaches have been housed at the Academy Hotel Venus Resort in Constanța ©IJF

"We are grateful to the IJF and the representatives of judo clubs in Romania who have welcomed our children.

"I am sincerely grateful to the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Ukraine, Vadym Hutsai, and our Governmental coach Mykhailo Rudenko for solving many issues related to the crossing of the border, for instance.

"We are grateful to our regional associations.

"We are united and we are always ready to help each other.

"We are grateful to our chief executive Inna Skorokhodova, who showed great leadership and did everything she could.

"We hope our children will be able to continue their training process in a proper way and the war in Ukraine will be finished soon."

The Ukrainians are being housed in the Academy Hotel Venus Resort where two training sessions are held each day alongside online studies for the children.

More than 4.2 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the full-scale invasion began on February 24 and the civilian death toll is at least 1,626, although the United Nations believes the true figure is far higher.

As Russia's military assault continues, the killing of civilians in Bucha by Russian armed forces has been described as a genocide by both Ukraine and Poland.

The IJF has not banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at its events, in contrast to the majority of Olympic International Federations, but the Russian Judo Federation and the Belarussian Judo Federation have both withdrawn from international tournaments for the foreseeable future.