Arsenal star Oleksandr Zinchenko wins prize for his protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine… after previously attending an anti-war vigil and condemning the actions of Vladimir Putin against his homeland
- Oleksandr Zinchenko won the Media Diversity Champion of the Year award
- He was rewarded for his protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
- Ukrainian defender Zinchenko attended a vigil in Manchester earlier this year
- The Arsenal star has also regularly condemned the actions of Putin and Russia
Oleksandr Zinchenko has received an award following his protests against Russia’s invasion of his war-torn homeland of Ukraine.
The Arsenal star won the Media Diversity Champion of the Year prize at the UnitedHealth Group’s European Diversity Awards on Friday.
Since Russian president Vladmir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February, Zinchenko has been vocal in support for his homeland, previously declaring he ‘could not stay back’ while his country is attacked.
Oleksandr Zinchenko has received an award for his protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Zinchenko attended a vigil in Manchester in support of the people in his homeland Ukraine
He attended an anti-war vigil in Manchester shortly after news of the invasion, as he was spotted in St Peter’s Square as members of the public protested against the Russian president’s actions.
At the European Diversity awards, he gave an impassioned speech about the situation Ukraine is facing and what more needs to be done to end the war.
It is not the first time he has given a moving and honest account, while calling on others in football to condemn the actions of Russia and Putin.
Ahead of Ukraine’s World Cup qualifiers in June, Zinchenko broke down in tears as he talked about speaking to children from the country who didn’t understand the situation.
Zinchenko has been vocal in his condemnation of the actions of Russia and Vladimir Putin
Zinchenko had the Ukrainian flag draped over his shoulders when Manchester City the title
Zinchenko was tearful after seeing the Ukrainian flag draped on the Premier League trophy
‘Every Ukrainian wants one thing – to stop this war,’ said Zinchenko in a press conference. ‘I have spoken with people from all around the world, from different countries.
‘I have also spoken to some Ukrainian kids who just don’t understand what’s happening back in Ukraine. They only want the war to stop. They have one dream, to stop the war.’
He added: ‘It’s impossible to describe these feelings until you are not in this position. The things which are happening now in our country, it’s not acceptable. It’s something which I cannot even describe.’
Zinchenko was also in tears as he draped the Ukraine flag over his shoulders when Manchester City pipped Liverpool to the Premier League title by one point back in May.
Since then, he has left the club to join current league leaders Arsenal.
Linda Riley, the founder of the European Diversity Awards, paid special tribute to Zinchenko for his ‘inspirational work to fight against the atrocities being committed by Vladimir Putin and Russia’ in Ukraine.
She said: ‘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. 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 the Ukraine.
Zinchenko has since left Manchester City to join current league leaders Arsenal
“Truly, since the war began Oleksandr has not shied away from speaking up and giving so many helpless Ukranian’s a voice by using his platform for good. He is an inspiration and fully deserving of our special Media Diversity Champion award.
“Elsewhere, there were so many more deserving winners and everyone shortlisted has made real achievements in race, age, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or religious belief over the past year.
‘The corporations and business leaders who picked up awards are dynamic and reflect the huge efforts corporate organisations are now making to improve diversity and inclusion. We should never forget how far we’ve come but there is still so much more to do.’
Also during the awards ceremony, FA Women’s Super League chairman Dawn Airey won the prestigious Liftetime Achievement Award.
A big part of the reason why she was given the prize, was for her work to advance the women’s game – which has seen a growth in popularity, particularly with England’s success at the European Championships.
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