‘I couldn’t take it’ – Shevchenko was disgusted after meeting children who had their limbs ripped off in the Russian attack on Ukraine

ANDRIY SHEVCHENKO became so sick of seeing orphans with their limbs severed that he decided to abandon his tour of a war-torn Ukrainian hospital.

But the horrors the ex-Chelsea striker has witnessed on two fundraising trips back to his decimated home country since the Russian invasion have fueled his desire to take a stand.

Shevchenko has watched as his childhood places were destroyed

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Shevchenko has watched as his childhood places were destroyedPhoto credit: Ian Tuttle
Ukraine was decimated by Putin's Russian invasion

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Ukraine was decimated by Putin’s Russian invasionPhoto credit: Getty

The places where he grew up as a child – Kyiv, Irpin, Dnipro – were devastated by rockets and bombs.

“I saw the reality,” he said. “This is war. You have to see it with your own eyes. It’s not a movie. It’s real life.

“When you see the places of your childhood that were hit by rockets, buildings that were destroyed by fire, it does something to you.

“On my second visit I saw Irpin. This once beautiful city full of new buildings, now there is nothing. Black. Flattened. Destroyed.”

It was the same in Borodyanka, Bucha and Hostomel.

“In Dnipro,” he added, “I went to the children’s ward of the hospital and saw boys and girls as young as six with horrible injuries.

“I heard the stories of the bombs that hit their homes and destroyed their legs, their arms, their families.

“I went from one room to another and another and another.

“Honestly, after the second room I didn’t want to continue. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was too much sadness.”

Shevchenko, who spent three years at Stamford Bridge between 2006 and 2009, has enlisted the help of Barcelona’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski and his compatriot, world No. 1 tennis star Iga Swiatek.

Together with the organization Laureus Sport, they support Ukrainian refugees in Kraków, Poland.

Shevchenko, 46, has given Lewandowski a Ukrainian captain’s armband, which he will take to the World Cup in Qatar.

“Sport has the ability to influence opinion and even politics when it comes to this war,” Shevchenko added.

“Sport really has the power to change the world during these times.”

Shevchenko is also trying to rebuild Irpin’s flashed soccer fields.

“The city used to have this beautiful football stadium and a new academy with artificial turf,” he told the Players’ Tribune.

“Only one field remained untouched after the bombing.

“I’ve spoken to the mayor about a fundraiser to help rebuild the rest, but right now they’re cratered, rubble and shrapnel.

Andriy Shevchenko photographed for a feature film by Mark Palmer on March 21, 2022

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Andriy Shevchenko photographed for a feature film by Mark Palmer on March 21, 2022Photo credit: Ian Tuttle

“Even so, I’ve seen kids out there kicking a ball around.

“These children should never have to live through what they have or play in these conditions. It’s not a place for children.

“But they’re still there. still resist This is the spirit of Ukraine.”

As a nine-year-old, he was evacuated from Kyiv after the shocking disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986.

“My father put a Geiger counter on one of the soccer balls I brought with me,” he recalls. “And it showed 50 times the normal radiation. He had to light it!”

But now life and freedom are threatened.

“This is a fight not only for Ukraine, but for democracy as a whole,” he stressed.

“And for what? I can’t find the reason. I can’t explain it to my kids or to any sane person.

“The situation is critical. There are so many families living in overcrowded, makeshift shelters without access to basic services. And soon it will be winter.

“We need to keep collecting donations. That’s my priority now.

“What is success? Does it win a football game? None of this is real. Success is freedom. Success is survival.”

For the full interview, visit ThePlayersTribune.com.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6421631/andriy-shevchenko-children-russia-attack-ukraine-war/ ‘I couldn’t take it’ – Shevchenko was disgusted after meeting children who had their limbs ripped off in the Russian attack on Ukraine

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