Young athletes from Ukraine escape war, train in Albania

AP -- May 13
ELBASAN, Albania — After fleeing from a war zone, a group of young Ukrainian track and field athletes have made their way to safety in Albania. Their minds are still between the two countries.

“I miss my mother’s food and grandmother’s advice,” said 17-year-old Maria Lariva, who throws the shot put. “I miss my coach and the stadium, my city, home, my country, everything.”

Lariva and seven other teenage athletes were evacuated from Bakhmut, a city in the Donetsk region that is part of Ukraine’s industrial heartland — where Russia has focused its fighting after its early failure to sweep across the country and overrun the capital.

Their families have stayed behind.