Elite Ukrainian athletes will have access to a fund to help them attend World Athletics competitions ©Getty Images

World Athletics has launched a Ukraine Fund in partnership with the International Athletics Foundation (IAF) and the members of the Diamond League Association which will support professional athletes impacted by the war in their country.

The aim of the fund is to ensure elite Ukrainian competitors and key members of their supporting personnel can continue to train, qualify and participate in World Championship competitions.

World Athletics predicts as many as 100 Ukrainian athletes may need financial support this year.

Under the fund, two groups of people will be eligible to apply for funding, the first being individual athletes and second being key athlete support personnel and immediate family members.

World Athletics has defined group one as athletes who are affiliated to the Ukrainian Athletic Association who have either have qualified, have a credible chance of qualifying or are due to compete at any of its World Championships until the fund closes on the set date of December 31 2023.

Group two, on the other hand, is group-one athletes' designated coach or team leader in addition to parents, spouses and children living with them.

"It's only right that the athletics community provides whatever support we can to the athletes of Ukraine, who have been put in this terrible situation and need our assistance to continue training and competing," World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said.

World Athletics believes up to 100 Ukrainian athletes will require financial support this year ©Getty Images
World Athletics believes up to 100 Ukrainian athletes will require financial support this year ©Getty Images

"I know several of our Member Federations in Europe are already hosting groups of Ukrainian athletes in training camps and I’m grateful for their humanitarian approach to these tragic circumstances.

"This fund will provide further support for Ukrainian athletes to enable them to have some stability and security as they prepare to represent their country while the war continues."

Financial assistance will be directed towards different areas depending on the group the person falls into.

Athletes will be helped with enrolment, subsistence and accommodation costs as well as in funding training material and equipment.

They will also be supported with travel and accommodation for World Championship qualifying events and at the main competition itself if it has not already been provided.

People in group two are able to receive financial assistance for travel with athletes, or in the case of coaches to make sure they can attend training and competitions.

Individual Diamond League meeting organisers will seek to provide additional travel and accommodation aid to competitors aiming to compete in their events, it is promised.

World Athletics, the IAF and Diamond League members have opened the fund by donating a combined $190,000 (£146,000/€175,000).

Sebastian Coe hopes the Ukraine Fund will give Ukrainian athletes
Sebastian Coe hopes the Ukraine Fund will give Ukrainian athletes "some stability and security" ©Getty Images

The Diamond League Association previously donated $30,000 (£23,000/€26,000) to the Ukrainian Athletics Association.

World Athletics will communicate directly with Sergey Bubka, President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine and World Athletics' senior vice-president, to ensure there will be no duplication to the efforts of the International Olympic Committee’s Solidarity Fund for the Ukrainian Olympic community.

"In dark times you can clearly see bright people," Yevhenii Pronin, the President of the Ukrainian Athletic Association, who is in Ukraine, said.

"World Athletics, Diamond League, IAF and all the National Federations that offered us their help - this is the standard of unity and support!

"Thousands of victims, millions of refugees, destroyed infrastructure, including sports infrastructure, terrified our hearts, but we believe that the worst is over.

"Every day I thank from my heart the entire world community for opening the doors of their homes for our people, for everyone who helps our athletes and their families and for World Athletics, for creating this fund for our athletes and our sport.

"The entire team of the federation is safe and is working to ensure that the athletes of our country and their families are safe and together with you we will save our favourite sport and make it stronger.

"Thank you from all Ukraine."

Russia has been accused of genocide by Ukraine and Poland ©Getty Images
Russia has been accused of genocide by Ukraine and Poland ©Getty Images

In excess of 4.2 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia launched a full-scale invasion on February 24.

According to the latest figures published by the United Nations, 1,626 civilians have been killed and 2,267 injured, but the actual numbers are believed to to be far higher.

Russia has faced accusations of committing genocide from Ukraine and Poland over the killing of civilians, particularly in Bucha.

World Athletics and the Diamond League have banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at their respective competitions.

The World Athletics Championships are due to be held this year from July 15 to 25 in Oregon in the United States.