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Oleksandr Zinchenko Gave A Powerful Interview To Football Focus On The Ukraine Invasion

Oleksandr Zinchenko Gave A Powerful Interview To Football Focus On The Ukraine Invasion
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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Ukrainian international footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko was in tears on BBC's Football Focus, as he gave a phenomenal interview to Gary Lineker on the situation in Ukraine.

With the invasion by Russia ongoing, Zinchenko could be forgiven for being off his game, but he powerfully explained the Ukrainian perspective and implored the watching world to continue their support for his country.

"Slava Ukraini": Oleksandr Zinchenko's emotional interview with Gary Lineker

It's been a harrowing week for the world at large, as Russian military action continues to escalate in Ukraine. It's now over a week since the full-scale invasion was launched, and air and missile strikes continue to multiply.

For Ukrainians, it has been among the darkest weeks in the nation's history, and it is hard to see any form of peaceful resolution around the corner.

Ukrainian footballers have seen plenty of support from the sport, with Oleksandr Zinchenko of Manchester City made captain for Tuesday's FA Cup action, and bringing a Ukrainian flag onto the pitch at kick-off against Peterborough.

On Saturday, BBC's Football Focus broadcast an emotional eight minute interview between Zinchenko and Gary Lineker, in which the City left-back detailed his experience of the war.

He confirmed that his family are thankfully as safe as can be in Ukraine. He also bravely said: "If it wasn't for my daughter and family [in Manchester], I would be there."


Zinchenko recounted the night of the invasion's onset, when he and his wife awoke to the news at 3am Manchester time.


The most harrowing part of the interview came when Zinchenko gave an insight into just how horrific life is all across Ukraine as the invasion worsens. He said that he is reduced to tears on a daily basis, and detailed the reports he is getting from friends at home in Ukraine.

I'm just crying. It's already been a week, I'm not counting. I can drive my car from the training ground - or, it doesn't matter where - I can just cry from nothing.

It's everything in my head. Imagine the place you were born, where you grew up, and there is just empty ground. I cannot imagine the people who are over there at the moment and surviving. I cannot imagine the feelings of them.

I know a lot of things that the rest of the world probably don't. I have a lot of friends there and a lot of people from different cities, and they're sending me the facts. The people are starving there, sleeping on the ground in bunkers, wherever. They cannot live a proper life.

The loss of life and quality of life has been horrifying to read of over the past few weeks, and Zinchenko's testimony sheds light on just how awful life is in Ukraine.


When asked by Lineker if he felt proud to be Ukrainian amid the chaos and horror, Zinchenko said through tears:

I am so proud to be Ukrainian, and I will be forever, for the rest of my life. When you're watching the people, how they fight for their lives, there is no words.

I know the people and the mentality of people from my country. They prefer to die - and they will die - but they are not going to give nothing.

Given the horrors ongoing in Ukraine, it is perhaps that quote on his national pride that will touch viewers most about Zinchenko's interview.

The Manchester City man said that the support from the wider footballing world for Ukraine was touching, and called on Russian footballers to join the push against war. He thanked the footballing world, supporters and players alike, for their support.

He also detailed his mission to use his profile and social media followers to show the world "the real truth" and continue to bring attention and focus to the awful scenes in his home country.


Lineker then offered Zinchenko a chance to send a message to the watching world. The Ukraine international had this to say:

I'm so grateful for all the support that we are getting around the world. If you can donate something to Red Cross, it would be really appreciated.

If not, it's the same - your support means a lot to us. Any little message, like the people are doing with protests around the world, it can help.

I was thinking for a few days about this interview - should I do it, should I not? But I just want to send a message to all the people: please, don't ignore this. We need to stop the war.

Zinchenko's closing remarks of a powerful interview were simple. To the camera, he said: "Slava Ukraini" - "Glory to Ukraine."

The footballing world is behind Zinchenko and the people of his country, and the world at large must continue to show their support for their plight.

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