‘Support our army’: West Ham star Andriy Yarmolenko’s powerful message to fellow Ukrainians
West Ham star Andriy Yarmolenko - who is Ukraine’s captain - gave a defiant message to his country over the Russian invasion, urging his compatriots to support the Ukrainian army.
The 32-year-old - who is captain of the national football team - said he supported a “European Ukraine” in a defiant social media post about the war.
Yarmolenko has made over 100 appearances for Ukraine and scored 44 goals, and captained the team to the knock-out stages of last year’s Euros.
What message did Andriy Yarmolenko send to the Ukrainian people?
Yarmolenko - who is one of the most high-profile sports stars in Ukraine - made two rare social media posts about the war.
In his first tweet for more than two years, he merely said: “Pray for Ukraine #NoWar.”
And in a post on Instagram, Yarmolenko urged his compatriots to support unite and support the army.
He said: “I call on every Ukrainian to unite, to show his loyalty to the country, to support our army.
“Our strength is freedom, the right to choose and respect human values.
“Our choice is European Ukraine.
“We are a strong nation, we are on our land and the truth is behind us.”
He used a photo of his national team’s football shirt, to accompany the inspirational message.
West Ham players’ support
Some of Yarmolenko’s fellow West Ham stars and also the fans have offered the Ukrainian support.
England international Declan Rice - who played for England against Ukraine in the last Euros - liked Yarmolenko’s passionate post.
And many West Ham supporters have posted pictures with the club’s crest coloured yellow and blue, the national colours.
Yarmolenko has played 58 times for the Irons, and scored seven goals, including a famous winner against Chelsea.
He was actually born in Saint Petersburg, in Russia, but his parents moved back to their native Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
He played for Dynamo Kyiv for a decade before moving to Borussia Dortmund, and then east London.