Olympic Martial Artist Who Won Bronze for Ukraine Turns Into ‘Ordinary Soldier’ to Fight Russians

Stanislav Horuna is an Olympic medalist. Just weeks ago, he was captain of Ukraine’s national karate team.

Now, Horuna says he’s just an “ordinary soldier” who is fighting in a war against Russia.

Horuna said he received a call at 4 a.m. on the first day of the war and had a chance to leave the country.

He declined to leave. Instead, he said, “We’ll do what is needed.”

“We don’t have proper military preparation trainings and fighting experience, but anyway, we are on our land, we are at home and we are ready to protect,” he said.

“If it is needed, we will kill, of course. We will shoot. There is no other option for us,” he added.

“Everyday nonstop the night before the news, we are checking if our friends and family members are okay, if somebody needs something,” he said. “So, no time to complain or time to reconsider your life.”

Horuna did an interview with CBS News from his hometown of Lviv.

“That’s just how it is. It’s a critical moment,” he added.

— Advertisement —

During the Tokyo Games last summer, Horuna won bronze medal.

“Now, Putin is the symbol of terrorist aggression,” he said. “Violence he ordered with no real reason. He ordered his soldiers to kill innocent people here in Ukraine. And if we didn’t resist, it’s just a matter of time when he would go further to Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, Finland and so on.”

More from CBS News:

Horuna said the experience has been mentally and emotionally taxing, saying he feels “helpless” and “full of anger.” When Russia on Wednesday was accused of launching a strike on a maternity hospital in Mariupol, Horuna, a father of one, said he asked his commanders to send him there. They shot down the idea because of his lack of military experience.

He said they told him to “stay here and protect this territory. Because if enemy comes here, somebody needs somebody to fight.”

Horuna told CBS News that he believes that if it were not for Ukraine’s staunch defense, Putin would invade further into Europe…

The 33-year-old marveled at the amount of people from “more than 50 countries” who have come to fight with Ukraine.

“They know that the whole world is now under the risk of the third World War,” he said. “And that guy, Putin, has to be stopped.”

Still, even in a moment of tragedy and turmoil, Horuna said he feels an immense sense of pride for the way Ukrainians have come together.