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Soccer City defender Zinchenko questions the silence of the Russian players

FA Cup Fifth Round – Peterborough United v Manchester City
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – FA Cup Fifth Round – Peterborough United v Manchester City – Weston Homes Stadium, Peterborough, Britain – March 1, 2022 Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko applauds fans REUTERS/Chris Radburn

March 5, 2022

(Reuters) – Manchester City’s Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko has questioned the refusal of Russia’s top footballers to speak out against their country’s invasion of his homeland.

FIFA and UEFA banned the country from international tournaments after Russia invaded Ukraine last week, but none of the country’s best players have publicly criticized President Vladimir Putin’s decision to go to war.

“I was surprised that no one, not one of them, of all,” said anything, Zinchenko told the BBC.

“Most of them play in the national team and have a lot of followers on Instagram, Facebook, whatever. And they can, they can at least do something to end this war. Because people can hear them.

“I already know they’re scared. But what are they afraid of? You will not do anything to them. At least they can state their position, but they don’t, they just ignore it. I do not know why.”

Zinchenko was on the bench for City’s first game after the invasion against Everton before being named captain for Wednesday’s FA Cup win over Peterborough. The 25-year-old is never far away from what’s going on in his home country.

“I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for my daughter, my family, I would be there,” he said.

“I’m so proud to be Ukrainian and I will be for the rest of my life. And when you watch people fighting for their lives.

“I know the people, the mentality of my people from my country, they prefer to die and they will die. But they will not give up.”

Zinchenko, who started his professional career at Russian club Ufa before joining City in 2016, said the ongoing situation is taking an emotional toll.

“I’m just crying,” he said. “So it’s been a week, I don’t count, but even I can drive the car off the training ground, or anywhere, I just can’t cry to anything.”

(This story removes redundant word at the end of paragraph 1)

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by William Mallard)

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Ashley

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