The former right-back has called for an end to the “criminal warfare” taking place in his homeland
Former Arsenal defender Oleh Luzhnyi has vowed to help Ukraine as their conflict with Russia rages, declaring “I will stand and fight for my people”.
Luzhnyi signed for Arsenal from Dynamo Kyiv back in 1999 and spent the next four years on their books, picking up Premier League and FA Cup winners medals while appearing in over 100 games.
The former right-back also lifted eight league titles with Dynamo and won 52 caps for Ukraine, and has now pledged to give support to his country amid their deadly conflict with Russia.
Luzhnyi, who is now a coach and has taken in spells as both an interim and assistant manager at Dynamo, is currently living in the Ukrainian capital and has called for an end to Russias invasion as the number of fatalities and casualties continue to rise.
“The situation is horrific,” the 53-year-old told Sky Sports. “I want to come to coach in the UK but before anything I will stand firmly and fight for my people, for my country and for democracy.
“We all hope this will be over soon as innocent lives are being lost and families are being torn apart. A country being invaded and destroyed is all for what? We need to stand together as one and bring to an end this criminal warfare.”
Luzhnyi is among several former and current players from Ukraine to have voiced their opposition to the war over the past few days.
Atalantas Ruslan Malinovskyi revealed a No war in Ukraine message on a t-shirt under his jersey after scoring in a Europa League win over Olympiacos, while former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko posted on social media: “We only want peace. War is not the answer”.
One-time Liverpool forward Andriy Voronin wrote a similar message to his followers, urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to “stop what you are doing”, and Vitaliy Mykolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko embraced in a show of unity before Manchester Citys Premier League clash with Everton on Saturday.
Zinchenko was moved to tears as supporters from both clubs displayed anti-war banners ahead of kick-off, with similar displays seen at Manchester United and Crystal Palace.