In a wide ranging interview with ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott, the former Chelsea and Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko said he would house Ukrainian refugees in the UK and voiced his sympathy for Chelsea fans after owner Roman Abramovitch was sanctioned
Words by ITV News Sports Producer Dan Salisbury-Jones
The ex-Ukraine manager and the country’s greatest ever player is also helping to bring 150 people of all ages fleeing the conflict in his homeland to the UK.
He told ITV News: "The war is very cruel and it’s hard to see the cities being destroyed, the people dying, I’m a father of four kids and for me to see images of kids dying, the bombs going at a kid’s hospital, I can’t stand that. I don’t think any person in the world can stand for that.
Mr Shevchenko said he hoped to house child Ukrainian refugees in his home
“I try to support my country, I try to raise attention, I tried to speak about exactly what’s going on, I try to touch the heart of the people and then to understand the circumstances. Of course I try to raise humanitarian aid and help my country, my people, refugees.
“I was waiting for the rules of the government and now it’s quite clear... I was working with ambassador of Ukraine here and then I have a couple of friends who want to help and we’re going to take 150 refugees here and put them in different areas and take a couple of children also in my house.”
Like many Ukrainians outside of the warzone, his worry is only growing for those who remain. Shevchenko is in constant contact with his mother and sister who are in Kyiv.
"Sometimes it's like a bad dream," says Andriy Shevchenko
“I don’t think there is a place in Ukraine where you feel safe now. I can’t believe this, sometimes it’s like a bad dream, I just wake up and say to myself ‘it’s going to come back to normal situation’ but I know it’ll never happen," he said.
"I know we have to deal with this situation, and we have to find a way to bring the peace in my country."
In his first UK interview since sanctions were imposed on Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich – Shevchenko reassured the club’s supporters.
Shevchenko said it's a "very hard moment" for Chelsea fans after the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, had sanctions imposed upon him
“It’s a very difficult moment for me, in the moment I don’t think about football, my head, my whole attention is to help my country but I know the situation and it’s a very hard moment for the Chelsea fans, for the club.
"I think you can’t cancel the history of Chelsea. The fans have to just be strong and support the club.”
He also reflected on the emotional scenes after current Ukraine star Andriy Yarmolenko scored a goal in the Premier League for West Ham on Sunday.
"I know he dedicated it for Ukraine" - on Andriy Yarmolenko's goal for West Ham yesterday
“That was an incredible moment, I know in that reaction you can see all the feeling, all the pain, everything what we have in sight, he just tried to release, he tried to show.
"I’m sure there was millions of people in Ukraine that watched that moment and it’s something that’s very important for the people of Ukraine. He played the game, he scored the goal and I know he dedicated it for Ukraine, that was a special moment.”
The former striker has now set up a fundraising page, hoping to reach £2 million, to support the people of Ukraine. The money raised will be split between five leading charities.