Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko among Ukrainian sporting icons vowing Ukraine ‘will not give up’ as Russia invades

  • Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko vows Ukraine 'will not give up' as nation resists invasion by Russian forces
  • Zinchenko voiced support for his nation in an Instagram post as Putin's Russia recognised the Ukrainian territories of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states
  • Zinchenko not alone in voicing support for Ukraine as fellow sporting icons of his country: Wladimir Klitschko and Andriy Shevchenko also speak out
  • Gazprom removed as shirt sponsor of German football club FC Schalke 04

Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko took to social media to voice support for his home nation of Ukraine following a Russian invasion.

Zinchenko, who captained his country at the recent Euro 2020, said on Instagram: “I can’t stand back. “My country belongs to Ukrainians and no one will ever be able to appropriate it. We will not give ours away! Glory to Ukraine”

Zinchenko, who’s played for Manchester City since 2016, previously played in Russia for Ufa.

He had previously left the Shaktar Donetsk youth system when his mother made the decision to move his family to Russia to flee the war in the Donbass region. 

Now the Ukrainian star finds his and his homeleand under threat again from Russian forces.

After the overnight invasion, Zinchenko took to social media with an image of Putin saying: “I hope you die the most painful and suffering death, creature”

The post has since been deleted but Zinchenko has shared another users post with the message: “If you are Russian and do not speak up now, then you will be an enemy for us forever.”

The Manchester City star has also changed his profile picture to the Ukrainian flag.

Fellow sporting icons, Andriy Shevchenko and Wladimir Klitschko have also taken to social media to voice their anger at the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Footballing star Shevchenko, formerly of Chelsea and AC Milan, said in an Instagram post: “Early in the morning, a full-scale war initiated by Russia [took place]. My people and my family are in danger. Ukraine and its population want peace and territorial integrity.

“Please, I beg you to support our country and call on the Russian government to stop their aggression and violation of international law. 

All we want is peace

“There is no need for war. War is not the answer.”

Former heavyweight boxing legend, Wladimir Klitschko, who once fought Manchester’s own Tyson Fury, also spoke out.

Klitschko, who’s brother Vitali; also once a world champion heavyweight, is the current Mayor of Kyiv. 

Wladimir said in a tweet: “Be sure, Ukraine is strong!

“It has a strong capital Kyiv, strong cities, villages and a strong solid and united people who value above all their independence, sovereignty and peace in Europe.

Its will to exist is infinite. Glory to Ukraine!

Since the invasion, Wladimir has shared a post on LinkedIn titled: “No democracy without democrats”

The post states: “It is not ‘the war of Ukraine’, it is Putin’s war.”

“Meticulous preparations were hidden behind the fog of the last few weeks in order to set in motion a place that had been drawn up for months. No more fog and false diplomatic declarations. Now, the Russian president is using was rhetoric in the purest Bolshevik tradition and is rewriting history to justify his redivision of borders.

“He makes it clear he wants to destory the Ukrainian state and the sovereignty of its people.

“Words are followed by missiles and tanks. Destruction and death come upon us. That’s it, blood will mix with tears.

“This is a blatant violation of international law. And, if you listen carefully, this is also talking about Europe.

“Putin wants to call into question the geopolitcal balance across the whole of Europe

“He wants to restore a fallen empire whose demise he has never accepted.

“The European way of life is under threat, the freedom of peoples to make their own decisions is under threat, and so is democracy.

“The Ukrainian people are strong

“The Ukrainian people have chosen democracy. But: Democracy is a fragile regime. Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone. Basically, there is no democracy withouth democrats.

“Say it loud and clear that international law and democracy are under attack, the war is the greatest evil and that life is sacred.

“Say that the march of imperialism must be stopped now.

“After all, whose turn will it be after Ukraine?

“If Putin goes ahead with his plan for a change of regime in Kyiv, start thinking about a change of regime in Moscow.

“Before it’s too late.”

Wladimir, has made clear that he won’t give up in the face of a Russian assault.

Earlier this month, the 45-year-old boxing legend, signed up as a reserve in the Ukrainian territorial forces as a result of the increasing Russian threat on his homeland.

Around the sporting arena, others have stood out in their support for Ukrainian sovereignty. 

Ukrainian international footballer, Roman Yaremchuk revealed a black t-shirt with a white trident logo after scoring a goal in his side Benfica’s 2-2 draw with Ajax last night in the Champions league.

The logo is that of the Ukrainian association of football and the trident has been considered a symbol of Ukraine for generations.

Elsewhere, German football club, FC Schalke 04, of the Bundesliga, have removed Russian state-owned energy giant and title sponsor ‘Gazprom’ from all kits.