Two prominent sporting figures from the Eastern European nation have been airing their concerns regarding political tension in the region

Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko and former AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko are among the prominent sporting stars from Ukraine to have called for solidarity within their country as political tension in the region escalates.

Russia has begun a large-scale attack on its Eastern European neighbour, with military convoys entering Ukrainian soil from all directions on the orders of president Vladimir Putin.

Explosions have been heard across the nation, with Putin stating that resistance from outside powers will be met with an “instant” response, sparking serious concern among those that call that part of the world home.

Ukraine international Zinchenko, who plies his club trade for the Premier League champions in England, has said in a message posted on Instagram: “The whole civilised world is worried about the situation in my country. I cant stay away and try to convey my opinion.

“In the photo – my country. The country where I was born and raised. A country whose colours I defend in the international sports arena. A country that we try to glorify and develop. A country whose borders must remain inviolable.

“My country belongs to Ukrainians and no one will ever be able to appropriate it. We will not give up! Glory to Ukraine.”

Those sentiments have echoed by ex-Milan and Chelsea forward Shevchenko, who left his role as manager of the Ukraine national side in August 2021.

The 2004 Ballon d’Or winner has said on social media: “Ukraine is my motherland!

“I have always been proud of my people and my country! We have gone through many difficult times, and over the past 30 years we have formed as a nation!“A nation of sincere, hardworking and freedom-loving citizens!

“This is our most important asset! Today is a difficult time for all of us. But we must unite! In unity we will win! Glory to Ukraine!”

Roman Yaremchuk, who unveiled an emblem in support of his homeland after scoring for Benfica against Ajax in the Champions League on Wednesday, has said: “I am Ukrainian and I am proud of that.

“Being thousands of kilometres away from my native country, I want to support everyone who is now in tension in their native land, now is the time to unite.

“This is our country, our history, our culture, our people and our borders. I would like to thank our defenders for their courage. Glory to Ukraine.”

Russia international striker Fyodor Smolov, who plays for Dynamo Moscow, has appeared to condemn the actions of his country in a social media post that reads: “No war!!!”.

Ukraines president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has claimed that Russia have carried out missile strikes on Ukraines infrastructure and on border guards.

Russia’s defence ministry has denied attacking any Ukrainian cities, with military infrastructure, air defence and air forces the focus of their attention.

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