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Arsenal’s Zinchenko prepared to fight in Ukraine war and says he won’t be silenced

Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko reveals he’s prepared to fight in the Ukraine war with Russia and says he won’t be silenced.

The Premier League footballer opened up to Piers Morgan about the horrors of war in his homeland Ukraine, shared his thoughts on Putin, and Zelensky being an inspiration in what was an emotional interview.

He also revealed he was ready to fight for his country when the time comes.

“I am angry even now,” he said as per The Guardian. “I am angry every single day because I really want to know what they are doing – to achieve what? To win what?

“I hope this war is going to finish soon and in the end you’re just going to think: ‘Wow, how many people have been killed? How many people have lost one of their circle? How many people lost their houses, jobs or whatever – and for what?’ I just really want to know.”

“I was talking to some of the volunteers helping around there,” he says. “The stories I heard … Some people don’t have the opportunity to leave their houses because the water is so high already. Some don’t have an opportunity to go because they are quite old. I heard about one woman, holding two little babies, born just a few months ago. She was on the roof, holding the last stone and trying to survive. Unfortunately, she didn’t. With the kids.”

Zinchenko was asked about how he was coping. He replied: “Oh please. Please don’t get in my head because I don’t know what is there at the moment.

“We have to move forward.

Shevchenko and Zinchenko are ambassadors for United24, which is a fundraiser set up by Ukraine president Zelenskiy, and the hope is that football will bring people together.

Game4Ukraine will take place at Stamford Bridge on the 5th of August with Arsene Wenger coaching one of the teams and talent from sport and entertainment will be involved.

“This game is so important,” Zinchenko says. “Apart from the money we are trying to get to rebuild the school, it’s also a powerful message to the world that we are all together.”

Zinchenko was questioned about how he deals with the pressure of playing Premier League football. “I have to,” he says. “We have to work. Our heroes are losing their lives.

“There is someone who is abroad, representing the country in the best way they can, using this kind of opportunity like we are now. They talk about the situation. It’s important to keep going, to keep showing the world the real truth, because a lot of propaganda is around. I know everyone has some fatigue but I cannot stop.

“Football is my life and when I am on the pitch I start to forget about everything. Football is such a powerful opportunity to stick together, to have fun. Since the invasion my head was lost, but me and my family were talking a lot about this and we have to keep going.

“I can help my country much more from here than if I would be there at the moment. But I promise I really want to be there. Last week, when I arrived there … I don’t know, this is my homeland. I just want to be there. For sure, after football, I am going to live in Ukraine.”

Zinchenko spoke of pride when it came to his thoughts on Zelenskiy. “I am so proud of my president. The things he does are incredible. Watching the process from the inside, the people around him, how they work is unbelievable. They don’t stop. They. Don’t. Stop.

“I had a tough, tough schedule in Ukraine. Close to me were people from the president’s office and I was watching them. It looked like they weren’t tired at all. I asked them if they were working in this routine every day. They said: ‘Since the invasion, yes.’ I believe with this energy, with these people, we have a bright future.”

One day he plans to tell his daughter about Russia’s aggression on Ukraine. When he was in Ukraine, he met children who were learning at the school in Chernihiv and heard about their suffering. “Kids cannot lie,” he says. “They are just talking the real truth. This is one of the most scary things: our kids growing up in Ukraine. This is a big mental injury for them. Living in wartime, this is the most scary thing that can happen for all parents.”

On if Zinchenko saw any joy in the children? He replied: “Well, most of them love football. When we were playing football, me and Shevchenko with them, they were smiling, laughing and really enjoying the process. I hope they will get more moments like this in their lives and try to forget. But unfortunately it will be so difficult.”

Zinchenko adds: “The invasion was one and a half years ago. Seeing this situation from your phone, laptop, calls, messages, I was already in shock. But we are human beings and we are starting to get used to it. We are starting to get used to the routine but it’s a completely different story when you see these destroyed buildings with your own eyes rather than your phone.

“This is completely different. I can’t say it wasn’t scary. You’re thinking: ‘Should I be scared or just accept that it is what it is and just try to do something good to help?’ People ask me: ‘Why do you do all this? You have a family to look after.’ But I have a daughter and I hope I will have another baby soon.

“I just want to do something good so when they grow up they will ask me: ‘Daddy, when this war was in our country what did you do, how much did you help people?’ I just want to look at my babies’ eyes and say: ‘Me and your mum, we were trying to do our best.’ That is what is in my head.”

Zinchenko spoke with TalkTV host Piers Morgan, demanding a complete ban on all Russian and Belarusian athletes from top-tier sports while also expressing concerns for the safety of his loved ones in Ukraine.

“My wife suddenly woke me up. And she said, ‘It started’. I said ‘What started?’ She was crying, you know, like flooding tears.

“I said ‘What’s started, what’s wrong?’ And she showed me the pictures of this invasion.

Arsenal’s Zinchenko prepared to fight in Ukraine war and says he won’t be silenced

“I don’t agree,” said Zinchenko on Wimbledon’s decision to reverse the ban on Russian and Belarusian players and asked him, “I am one of the Ukrainians who doesn’t like to see them in the highest level of any sport. For sure they should be banned. 100% they shouldn’t be allowed. Why? Because how many bombs and rockets are being sent from Belarus? How many?”

“Listen I’m not political. I don’t understand anything about it [politics], I don’t understand, and I would never understand. Because this is not my area. But, this is not political. It is war,” he said.

Zinchenko adds he won’t shake the hands of athletes from those countries.

“I will never accept their reaction. I have to be honest. You can say ‘they didn’t do anything’. Yes they did, they didn’t react,” he said.

“They have millions of followers behind them and chances to speak out. If you have 10million followers on Instagram saying ‘Stop It’, some people from that 10million will spread it. And it will work in the end. But if no one is going to speak out because they’re scared, do not call us brothers. Never again.” he said.

“There will be a time everyone will be there. It will be the last call. All of us will go, everyone will go. Today, I’m much more helpful from here, but you never know what’s going to happen.”

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