Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko says Russian and Belarusian athletes should be banned from high-level sport amid the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion in February 2022 sparked worldwide outrage with the national football team being banned from official UEFA competition, while athletes across other sports were also sanctioned.
Belarusian athletes were also punished due to president Aleksandr Lukashenko’s backing of Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade.
However, at the Wimbledon tennis championship Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete at SW19 providing they sign neutral declarations.
This doesn’t sit well with Zinchenko, who spoke passionately about why he believes the blanket ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus should remain.
“I don’t agree [with the decision], Zinchenko said on Piers Morgan: Uncensored. “I’m one of the Ukrainians who doesn’t like to see them at the highest level in any sport.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to compete. Why? Because how many bombs and rockets are being sent from Belarus, how many?
“I’m not political. I don’t understand anything about it and I would never understand it because this is not my area.
“But this is not political, this is war. They talk about not putting politics in sport, this is not political. This is war.
“Guys you don’t do anything to be on our side, on the justice side.”
Asked if he would shake hands with a Russian or Belarusian athlete, Zinchenko said: “No chance, no chance. Because I would never accept their reaction. I have to be honest.
“You can say, ‘well, but they didn’t do anything against us’, but yes they did, they did. How and what? They didn’t react.
“But if no one is going to speak out and they’ll get scared I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, don’t ever call us brothers or whatever like they did in the past, never again.”