Soccer-Shevchenko steps up relief efforts for Ukrainian war victims

FILE PHOTO: Serie A - Genoa v AC Milan
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Genoa v AC Milan - Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy - December 1, 2021 Genoa coach Andriy Shevchenko reacts REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

March 22, 2022

(Reuters) – Former Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko said he will use his platform to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of his country and step up efforts to raise humanitarian aid for victims of the crisis.

One of Ukraine’s greatest players and a former coach of the national team, Shevchenko said he was in shock for the first two days of the invasion, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation.”

“But I soon got to thinking about how best I could help my country. I decided the best way was to use my platform, speak up, tell people the truth about what’s going on and raise humanitarian aid,” Shevchenko told the Times newspaper.

Shevchenko told the Times that he plans to welcome two Ukrainian refugee families into his home in Surrey.

“I have the ability and capacity to have people in my home, so why would I not do that? These are people who have nothing, and the world has to help — right now,” the 45-year-old said.

“The response from all round the globe has been fantastic, but the situation is getting worse. More people are dying, so we all need to do more, and we need to do it now.”

Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting while the U.N. refugee agency says some 10 million people have been displaced by the war.

Shevchenko has launched a campaign called “Play Your Part for Ukraine https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/play-your-part” which hopes to raise an initial two million pounds ($2.64 million) to help those affected. Donations stood at nearly 294,000 pounds on Tuesday.

Shevchenko also hailed the leadership of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

“The reaction of the president has been amazing. He has united the nation,” Shevchenko said. “His is an inspiring message of solidarity, and the world reaction has given our people hope.”

($1 = 0.7590 pounds)

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)