Manchester City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko admits he is at a loss to explain why most of Russia’s footballers have kept quiet over their country’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Zenit St Petersburg goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk broke the silence from Russian footballers to say his team-mates can no longer hide behind ‘separating politics and sport’.
Russia captain Artem Dzyuba, on the other hand, described war as a ‘frightful thing’ in a statement on Instagram and but spoke of his pride in his nationality and hit back at Ukrainian footballers ‘who sit on their a** in mansions in England’ for criticism of him.
But in an interview with Gary Lineker conducted earlier this week, Ukraine international Zinchenko blasted Russian footballers for not speaking up on the invasion.
‘I was surprised that no one from all of them,’ Zinchenko told BBC Sport’s Football Focus.
‘Most of them play in the national team, and they have a lot of followers on Instagram and Facebook, at least they can say.
‘They have positions but they just ignore it, I don’t know why.’
The comments come after the CEO of Ukrainian football club Shakhtar Donetsk told the Russian football community that they are ‘guilty and responsible’ if they refuse to speak out against the devastating invasion of the country.
Oleksandr Zinchenko admits he is at a loss to explain why most of Russia’s footballers have kept quiet over their country’s brutal invasion of Ukraine
The majority of Russian players, including most from the national team, have remained silent following Vladimir Putin’s order to invade
The club confirmed that one of their youth coaches has been killed in the fighting after being struck by a fragment of a Russian bullet, but no further details around where or when the tragic incident took place were given.
And now, Serhiy Palkin has taken to social media to urge Russians to avoid becoming ‘outcasts’ and to stand up against their ‘bloody regime’.
‘You are becoming an outcast,’ his post on Facebook read. ‘Russia, from a nation that has made tremendous efforts to defeat Nazism, is turning into a nation of terrorists, a nation of silent cowards.
‘The whole world is watching you today. And the world expects you to act that will stop the madness. But you’re afraid, you’re scared. In sports, fear is a feeling that reduces the probability of victory to zero.
‘Your fear of going against the war in Ukraine is destroyed cities, your fear is thousands and thousands of deaths among civilians, your fear is dead children and maimed fates of millions.
Russian footballer Stanislav Kritsyuk has spoken out against the escalating crisis in Ukraine
Russia captain Artem Dzyuba, on the other hand, described war as a ‘frightful thing’ in a statement on Instagram and spoke of his pride in his nationality
‘Your fear of going against the bloody regime is your greatest defeat. Although you did not give the order to exterminate Ukrainians, your silence is an aid to mass murder and destruction.
‘An employee of ours was killed yesterday. A kids coach. He was killed by a fragment of a Russian shell. Russia, you are killing Ukrainians.
‘Stop this madness! Don’t be silent, speak up! Otherwise, it will be your personal defeat. A defeat that will be remembered by all generations to come.
‘A defeat that cannot be erased from the world history. And each of you will be guilty and responsible for the crimes committed.’
Ukrainian sportspeople have spoken up following the invasion, with Zinchenko himself labelling Putin a ‘creature’ and wished him a ‘painful death’ in an astonishing verbal assault.
Everton and Ukraine defender Vitaliy Mykolenko furiously called Dzyuba a ‘silent b***h’ and his international peers ‘s***heads’ for not speaking out to condemn the crisis. He also said that ‘you and your kids will spend your lives in a dungeon.’
Dzyuba was targeted by West Ham forward Andriy Yarmolenko, also of Ukraine, after he raised the issue of his notorious sex tape and said ‘I know some of you like to show your balls on camera but now the time’s come to show your balls in real life’.
Dzyuba however hit back in a social media post of his own, in which he said war was ‘frightful’ but that he doesn’t understand why athletes have to suffer now.
‘I didn’t want to, not because I’m afraid, but because I’m not an expert in politics, I never got into it and didn’t intend to (unlike a large number of political scientists and virologists who have recently appeared on the Internet),’ he said.
‘But like everyone else, I have my own opinion. Since I am being drawn to this topic from all sides, I will express it.
‘I am against any war. War is a frightful thing. But I am also against human aggression and hatred, which is gaining some sort of devastating scale every day.’
In a lengthy Instagram post, Dzyuba expressed his pride at being Russian but condemned war
In Ukraine, devastating photos have laid bare the horror of Vladimir Putin’s lawless invasion of Ukraine, as one image showed a baby being rescued from the scene of a brutal attack near Kyiv as the Russian tyrant continues denying bombing Ukrainian cities.
Heartbreaking images from Irpin, located on the outskirts of the besieged capital city, confirmed massive damage to heavily populated civilian areas, with piles of rubble, twisted metal and burned out cars stretching into the distance.
A Ukrainian soldier was pictured rescuing a tiny baby from a scene of total devastation, while other photos showed a terrified woman walking past a burning house after Irpin was pounded by Kremlin forces. Elsewhere, chaos and destruction were seen in the northwestern city of Zhytomyr on Friday, after it was hit by shelling that tore a school building apart.
But an increasingly delusional Putin is insisting that Russia is not bombing Ukrainian cities, despite mounting fears that 100 people are buried under rubble after an apartment block near Kyiv was struck and after a cluster bomb attack on the city of Chernihiv killed 49.