Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko wins diversity award for anti-war work amid Russia’s invasion of homeland Ukraine


    Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko moved to Arsenal this summer (Picture: Getty)
    Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko moved to Arsenal this summer (Picture: Getty)

    Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko has been crowned Media Diversity Champion of the Year for his anti-war work amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

    The Gunners defender, who has 52 caps for the Ukraine national football team, has been vocal in his support for his war-torn homeland and gave an impassioned speech after picking up the accolade at the 2022 European Diversity Awards.

    Zinchenko attended an anti-war vigil earlier this year and has previously said he ‘could not stay back’ while his country is attacked, with Russia first invading Ukraine on February 24 as the devastating war continues in eastern Europe.

    The 25-year-old left-back, who moved to the Emirates in a £32m deal from Manchester City in the summer, has spoken out against the war on numerous occasions and has called on others in football to condemn Russia’s actions.

    ‘We are honoured to have been given the opportunity to shine a light on football star Oleksandr Zinchenko,’ European Diversity Awards founder Linda Riley said.

    ‘[He won the award] for his truly inspirational work to fight against the atrocities being committed by Vladimir Putin and Russia in his peaceful native homeland Ukraine.

    ‘You could hear a pin drop in the room tonight while Oleksandr was speaking and his passion to stop the war was evident for all to see.

    Oleksandr Zinchenko wrapped the Premier League trophy in the Ukrainian flag in May (Picture: Getty)
    Oleksandr Zinchenko wrapped the Premier League trophy in the Ukrainian flag in May (Picture: Getty)

    ‘He is an upstanding member of the football community and his powerful words should resonate across the globe as people are once again shown what is going on in Ukraine.

    ‘Truly, since the war began Oleksandr has not shied away from speaking up and giving so many helpless Ukrainians a voice by using his platform for good.

    ‘He is an inspiration and fully deserving of our special Media Diversity Champion award.’

    Zinchenko has made eight appearances for Arsenal so far this season having struggled with injury.

    Prior to joining the Gunners he spent six years at Pep Guardiola’s City, who signed him from Russian club Ufa after he came through the youth academy at Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.

    Mikel Arteta’s side are currently top of the Premier League table and return to action on Saturday with a trip to face Wolves before the World Cup break.

    MORE : Groundbreaking footballer Jake Daniels nominated for diversity award alongside Beth Mead

    MORE : Mykhaylo Mudryk is ‘calling Oleksandr Zinchenko’ about £30m Arsenal transfer, claims Kevin Campbell

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