World News

Andriy Shevchenko says Ukrainian people face 'tragedy' following Russian invasion

Krishan Davis
Shevchenko has called for peace in Ukraine
Shevchenko has called for peace in Ukraine / Stefano Guidi/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Ukrainian legend Andriy Shevchenko says "football doesn't exist" for him anymore following Russia's invasion of his home country.

Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered troops into neighbouring Ukraine on 24 February, and already there have been close to 10,000 casualties and around 1m people have been displaced.

Shevchenko is one of Ukraine's most famed and decorated sportspeople, best known for his goalscoring exploits during a golden era for AC Milan. He started and ended his career at Dynamo Kyiv and was his country's national team manager until last summer.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Shevchenko - who has remained in London since the outbreak of war to help lobby for humanitarian aid - said the Ukrainian people were 'facing a tragedy'.

"I talk to my parents, I talk to my mother and say I want to go back, but my feeling is here now, to talk about what's going on, the real tragedy the Ukrainian people are facing at the moment," he said.

"My thought is to try to get people to understand the situation, the human side of the situation we are facing. I've tried to talk to the foundation, to raise the money, and help the Ukrainian society there.

"I'm so proud to be Ukrainian. It's a very difficult moment for my country, my people, my family. My mum and sister are in Kyiv at the moment, and terrible things have happened there. People dying, children dying, missiles pointing into our houses.

"We need to stop this war, we need to find a way to stop the war. We have refugees, we need humanitarian aid. We need medical support, food support. It feels like I can do a lot here, and I will do.

"I have tried [to convince my family to leave] many times, I have talked to them, but the answer is no. They want to stay there. This is the Ukrainian spirit."

Shevchenko was also asked about the decisions to sanction the Russian national team and club sides.

"It's a great reaction from the institutions like UEFA and FIFA to make the right decision," he continued.

"I don't think it's a difficult decision. When you attack a country, when you start to send in bombs and soldiers; it's not a conflict, it's a real war.

"When the war has not stopped, I think it's the right decision not to allow any Russian athletes to participate in any sporting event.

"Football doesn't exist for me anymore. I don't think about it. It's not the time for that. I'm not watching anything, any sport, anything.

"All my concentration, when I wake up, I think about how I can help my country, what I can do. I've started to call my parents, my friends, get updates on what's going on in Ukraine.

"For me, this is my field, this is my concentration now."

facebooktwitterreddit