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Zinchenko issues passionate plea for world to avoid Ukraine war fatigue

  /  autty

Arsenal left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko used a press conference ahead of the Gunners' pre-season friendly with Manchester United to plead for continuing global support for Ukraine

"It’s so important to make these kind of events," the 26-year-old said. "Of course, for me it’s a shame to ask you guys to donate. I’m not saying this or asking this. Some can do it. Some maybe can’t because they have a lot of things to do.

"In London and just walking with my daughter, I see cars with kids and the other day I saw a family and their kids, maybe from Czech Republic, and the kid had no shirt on. He had a temporary tattoo on his shoulder with a temporary Ukrainian flag tattoo. It made me think, 'Wow these guys are with us.' This little thing means a lot for us. Being a Ukrainian I am so proud.

"Some people have fatigue from this war but we cannot give up. We need to fight for our freedom and independence because I couldn’t imagine in 2023 this could happen, the place where you were born and raised, and one day the other country comes to your place, destroys everything, kills kids, and does a lot of scary thing. To achieve what? That is the question.

"In this case I’m talking to people with fatigue, today it’s Ukraine, but tomorrow it could be your country. That is why we need to stick together and fight until the end.

"Being here, I would like to say a massive thanks to the U.S. and the rest of the world which is helping us a lot in this tough moment.

"Since the invasion, this is already part of my life. Every day I’m living with my country and the people staying there, me and my family are trying to help as much as we can. With the event coming soon (Aug. 5) in London, I feel that my mission is to try to help as much as I can.

"I want my kids when they grow up to ask me, 'Daddy, what did you do when this war happened in our homeland?' And I want to look into my daughter’s eye and say, 'Me and your mum tried to do our best to help our country.'

"Me, obviously, using football, which is the best sport in the world to represent our country and the best way with all the ex-players, legends, actors.

"It’s so important, not just to raise funds to build a school in Ukraine, but to send a message to the rest of the world and to the Ukrainian people staying there and fighting for their independence, to say: 'Look, you are not alone. All of them stay behind.'"

Zinchenko also used the press conference as an opportunity to plead once again for aerial support from Ukraine's allies in the form of F16 fighter jets.

"Using this opportunity, I have to say we need these F16s to return our land and our territories. I have this mission and if I have the opportunity to say that I have to do it."

The Ukrainians have been pleading for modern fighter jets to help repel Russian invaders for more than a year. President Joe Biden in May lent U.S. support to an international effort to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s, but the U.S. has yet to formally approve the training program, which is required under export restrictions.

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