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Ukraine solidarity, anti-war messages across stadiums

February 27, 2022 10:22 IST
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Fans hold a banner in support of Ukraine before the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City, at Goodison Park, Liverpool.

IMAGE: Fans hold a banner in support of Ukraine before the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City, at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters

Manchester City and Everton players took to the field wearing Ukrainian flags before their Premier League game on Saturday while there were anti-war messages at stadiums elsewhere following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


City players walked out before the game at Everton's Goodison Park, wearing t-shirts featuring the Ukrainian flag and the slogan 'No War' while the home players were all draped in the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine.

Both teams had Ukraine internationals on their bench with City's Oleksandr Zinchenko and Everton's Vitaliy Mykolenko both appearing on the verge of tears as they witnessed the demonstration of support.

Home fans at Goodison Park unveiled a banner featuring Mykolenko and the slogan 'We Stand with Ukraine'.

The two players embraced each other at length during the warm-up and received warm applause from the supporters. Zinchecko had attended a vigil in Manchester on Thursday.

"To see Mykolenko the last few days has been a huge perspective for me. For anyone that has seen videos then to see Zinchenko...," Everton manager Frank Lampard said.

"Can we not be at peace with each other? Disagree with each other but not see things that are happening at the minute."

His opposite number Pep Guardiola added: "Thank you so much for all the people at Goodison Park. It was so emotional.

"It is not a nice moment for Zinchenko and the Ukrainian people right now. The people from Goodison Park were amazing."

At Old Trafford, Manchester United players stood with opponents Watford before their game behind a banner declaring 'Peace' in several languages which was held by United's interim manager, German Ralf Rangnick.

In the German Bundesliga, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Munich players stood for a minute's silence before their game on Saturday.

The overhead screen at Eintracht's stadium showed the message 'Stop it, Putin'.

Wembley Stadium's iconic arch was lit up in the blue and yellow of the Ukraine flag on the eve of the League Cup final on Sunday between Liverpool and Chelsea.

Matty Cash, the Aston Villa full back, took off his shirt after scoring in the Premier League game at Brighton & Hove Albion to reveal an under-shirt with a message of support for his Poland teammate Tomasz Kedziora.

Kedziora plays for Ukrainian club Dynamo Kyiv and resides in the Ukrainian capital.

Cash received a yellow card for the offence of taking off his shirt.

Ukrainian tennis player Yastremska flees to safety in France

Ukrainian tennis star Dayana Yastremska left Odessa with her younger sister amid the Russian invasion and is now safe in France.

IMAGE: Ukrainian tennis star Dayana Yastremska left Odessa with her younger sister amid the Russian invasion and is now safe in France. Photograph: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Ukrainian tennis star Dayana Yastremska has fled her native country amid a Russian invasion and is now safe in France, the 21-year-old said in a social media post on Saturday.

Yastremska, who has won three WTA titles and been ranked as high as world number 21, said she left Odessa with her younger sister with help from their parents.

"Tired, but my sister and I are safe!" she posted on Saturday in an Instagram story, which showed their arrival in Romania en route to France.

"Thank you France. Ukraine stay strong. We miss you Home, Mum and Dad."

On Friday an Instagram post from Yastremska showed her and her sister sitting on luggage and wearing matching pink sweatpants and hoodies.

"After spending two nights in the underground parking, my parents made a decision at any cost to send me and my little sister out of Ukraine!" she said in the Friday post.

"Mom, Dad, we love you very much, take care of yourself!!! I love you my country! Ukrainians take care of your lives."

Ukraine is a force in women's tennis. Three Ukrainians are in the WTA top 100 and seven are in the top 200. Elina Svitolina, who has also been outspoken in support for her country amid the invasion, is the highest ranked Ukrainian at world number 15.

Thousands of refugees fleeing the invasion poured across Ukraine's western borders on Saturday, the third day of fighting, with many hoping to enter Poland, Slovakia, Romania or Hungary.

Russia's assault is the biggest on a European state since World War Two and threatens to upend the continent's post-Cold War order.

Former player Stakhovsky enlists in Ukraine's reserve army

Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky

IMAGE: Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky in action during the second round match against Sam Querrey of the United States at Wimbledon, on July 4, 2018. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Ukrainian former tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky enlisted in his country's reserve army last week prior to Russia's invasion, he said, despite a lack of military experience, although he can handle a gun.

Russia's invasion by land, air and sea on Thursday followed a declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin.

The 36-year-old Stakhovsky, who won four ATP titles and had a shock win over Roger Federer in the second round of Wimbledon in 2013, said on Saturday he was willing to take up arms in Ukraine's defence.

"Of course I would fight, it's the only reason I'm trying to get back," Stakhovsky told Sky News.

"I signed up for the reserves last week. I don't have military experience, but I do have experience with a gun privately.

"My dad and brother are surgeons, they are stressed out, but I speak to them frequently - they sleep in the basement.

"None of us believed that this could happen, and yet it happened."

Former heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko also enlisted in Ukraine's reserve army this month, saying that love for his country compelled him to defend it.

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