Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko has opened up about the “nightmare” being inflicted on his home country of Ukraine, including horrific details from the Russian invasion which he has heard and seen.
Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, leaving thousands dead and millions more forced to flee their homes, while Zinchenko and other Ukrainians abroad have been forced to watch on in horror.
Zinchenko has been vocal in his condemnation of Russia’s military aggression, and spared no detail as he raged against those who attempt to deny the reality of the situation in his homeland.
What has Zinchenko said?
Speaking to the Guardian, Zinchenko said: “It’s a nightmare. A shock to the whole world, the things they have done there. Terrible, scary things. They killed our civilians. They killed our children. They raped our women and girls. They killed our dogs and even ate them. I cannot even begin to describe how I feel about them.
“I hate them so much, for everything they have done to the Ukrainian people and Ukraine. I hate the people in Russia who are trying to convince others that this is propaganda. It’s embarrassing. How can they say this?
“People send me the real pictures, the real facts. The bodies of our dead civilians were lying on the ground for two weeks. They have to take responsibility for this.”
What role can football play?
Zinchenko and other Ukrainian footballers in England have been supported by their clubs and fans – he was made Man City captain for their FA Cup clash against Peterborough, with fans in the stands carrying Ukraine flags and other banners in support.
However, Zinchenko thinks footballers could do more to condemn the violence, particularly those in Russia – where he played for two years with FC Ufa – and said silence equates acceptance and support for the invasion.
Zinchenko said: “I have friends over there, a small circle, but now it has reduced almost to nothing. I’m so disappointed.
“The guys I know called me as soon as the invasion happened, texted me: ‘I’m so sorry Alex, but we can’t do anything.’ Of course you can. If you stay silent it means you support what is happening in Ukraine right now, and I can’t see why they would.
“Maybe they are scared, because we see pictures on social media of Russians being taken to prison if they protest. But look at footballers in particular, or anyone with a massive audience.
“Can you believe that, if all of them posted something on Instagram at the same time saying: ‘Guys, we are against the war, we need to stop it,’ they would all be arrested? Of course they would not. It’s such a shame that they say nothing.”