Ukraine star Oleksandr Zinchenko thanked well-wishers but revealed his personal trauma as he called for the war to stop amid ongoing conflict with Russia.

Russia began invading neighbouring Ukraine over a week ago after rising political tensions between the two countries.

The attacks were greeted by widespread condemnation, with sporting, political and financial sanctions imposed on Russia in an attempt to deter their efforts.

Russia have been banned from competing in the men's 2022 World Cup and women's European Championship, while St Petersburg was stripped of this season's Champions League final.

In an act of solidarity, Zinchenko was named captain for Manchester City's FA Cup tie at Peterborough on Tuesday and the left-back has thanked the world for showing support.

"I'm so grateful," he told BBC Sport. "I'm so grateful to all these people for the support I'm getting here. I didn't realise it's going to be like that in this way. So I would like to say all of them big thanks. I appreciate it.

"I'm getting a lot of messages from a lot of guys in Ukraine and they are asking me about the videos of support [from the UK]. So people are watching TV, the people are still watching football, and they can see all these things, and I guess it helps a lot for them."

Zinchenko's torment continues around the clock, as he pointed to starvation in his homeland and the prospect of many having to live in bunkers, hoping to survive.

"I'm just crying," he said. "So already a week, I'm not counting, but even I can drive the car from the training ground, or it doesn't matter where, I can just cry from nothing.

"It's everything in my head. Imagine the place where you was born, where you was growing up. And there is just empty ground."

Zinchenko said he wanted to send a message that nobody should forget the plight of Ukrainians.

"We need to stop the war," he added.

The 25-year-old explained his intention to inform the world of what is going on in his homeland.

"I spoke with many people who are on our side. And they said that the way Russian TV is showing us is ridiculous," he said. "My mission is to show the rest of the world what's going on in this moment.

"There are few cities in the lowest part of Ukraine where the civilians, Russian people, are coming, and they do fake protests that like 'we want to be with Russia' and stuff like that. I can show you one million pictures. I can show you one million videos, what they are doing now. I can show you every city in my country, which they destroyed."

Andriy Shevchenko says football "doesn't exist" for him now amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine last Thursday after weeks of heightening political tensions between the two countries.

The actions of Russia have led to widespread condemnation, with financial, sporting and political sanctions imposed on the nation in an attempt to deter the attacks.

Shevchenko, who is Ukraine's all-time leading goalscorer and former head coach, has previously asked people to join him in speaking out against the attacks as he called for peace to be restored.

He has stayed in London during the conflict to help lead the humanitarian aid and raise awareness in England, but his family remain in Ukraine in solidarity with their compatriots.

For now, Shevchenko has little interest in the sport that made him famous.

"Football doesn't exist for me any more," he told Sky Sports. "I don't think about it. It's not the time for that. I'm not watching anything, any sport, anything.

"All my concentration, when I wake up, I think about how I can help my country, what I can do. I've started to call my parents, my friends, get updates on what's going on in Ukraine.

"For me, this is my field, this is my concentration now."

However, Shevchenko did note Russia's ban from FIFA and UEFA competitions, praising the decision.

"It's a great reaction from the institutions like UEFA and FIFA to make the right decision," he said.

"I don't think it's a difficult decision. When you attack a country, when you start to send in bombs and soldiers, it's not a conflict, it's a real war.

"When the war has not stopped, I think it's the right decision not to allow any Russian athletes to participate in any sporting event."

The Premier League has announced its plans to show support for Ukraine in the coming round of fixtures.

Several top-flight clubs have already responded to Russia's invasion of Ukraine with their own anti-war demonstrations.

Last weekend saw prominent gestures at Goodison Park, where Vitaliy Mykolenko's Everton faced Oleksandr Zinchenko's Manchester City, and London Stadium, as West Ham played Wolves without Andriy Yarmolenko.

Zinchenko captained City in their midweek FA Cup win at Peterborough United.

But the Premier League has now organised messages of support for Ukraine for all 10 matches this week, with the 20 club captains to wear armbands in the nation's colours.

"The Premier League and our clubs wholeheartedly reject Russia's actions and will be showing support for the people of Ukraine at all matches this weekend," a statement read.

"We call for peace and our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted.

"A show of solidarity for Ukraine will be visible at all Premier League matches from Saturday 5 to Monday 7 March. This follows the numerous ways in which clubs have already demonstrated their support.  

"The 20 club captains will wear special armbands in Ukrainian colours and fans are encouraged to join players, managers, match officials and club staff in a moment of reflection and solidarity before kick-off at each game. 

"Big screens at stadiums will display 'Football Stands Together' against the backdrop of the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag. These words will also be shown on LED perimeter boards during matches.

"This message of solidarity will also be visible to fans around the world across Premier League digital channels. Logos and profiles on those platforms will change to represent the colours of the Ukrainian flag, which will also be displayed across match broadcasts both in the UK and overseas."

Among this week's fixtures is the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The North American, Central American, and Caribbean Athletic (NACAC) has joined other associations around the world in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this week The World Athletics Council imposed sanctions against its Member Federations of Russia and Belarus as a consequence of the invasion.

As a result athletes, support personnel, and officials from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future, with immediate effect.  Adding its voice to the chorus the Caribbean body condemned the loss of life and property.

“NACAC today issues a very strong condemnation of the recent decision by Russia to invade the country of Ukraine and starting a war that will incur significant loss of lives, the destruction of the country’s economy and leaving untold numbers without homes and places of work,” a release issued by the organization read.

“NACAC is extremely proud that the athletes of the world have let their voices join those of millions around who vehemently reject the Russian invasion and its seeming disregard for all norms of democracy and international law,” he added.

“As a member of World Athletics, NACAC has been a party to all Congress decisions to impose sanctions on Russia for the numerous infractions of the organization’s competition rules and failure to satisfy all conditions required for a return to full participation in its global events. We understand only too well the evidence of State-sponsored doping that has characterised the Russian athletics program,” it added.

“Today, NACAC acknowledges that genuine leadership requires of us the airing of our condemnation of a government that has shown a complete lack of respect for peace and international understanding, two of the most fundamental principles for which sport exists. As the world’s leading sport for individuals, the entire athletics fraternity must be unified in this condemnation and ensure that there is no room for Russia to manoeuvre in sport to achieve its government’s ugly and most despicable aggression against Ukraine. We ask the same in respect of the government of Belarus that has made clear its support for the actions undertaken by Russia in respect of Ukraine.

We agree with the athletes of the world and encourage those of our sport to continue to make their voices heard, loud enough to have the desired impact, an end to Russian aggression against Ukraine and a return to international peace.”

Oleksandr Zinchenko was to captain Manchester City at Peterborough United on Tuesday in his first appearance since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Ukraine international Zinchenko was on the bench at Everton on Saturday and pictured in tears as both teams showed their support for his nation at Goodison Park.

And further gestures were set to follow before the FA Cup fifth-round tie against Peterborough.

Zinchenko was to be at the forefront of those after he was named as City's skipper on the teamsheet, despite the club initially suggesting regular captain Fernandinho would lead the side.

Fernandinho, who spent eight years in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk before joining City, offered the armband to Zinchenko in a sign of solidarity.

"Our captain decided to give the armband to him to show how important the situation is," Pep Guardiola told ITV Sport. 

"We are all the club behind this gesture, behind our captain, who represents his country."

Zinchenko and Fernandinho were among six changes to the City side, with Jack Grealish also brought in after a spell out through injury.

Guardiola had confirmed on Monday that Zinchenko would be involved, saying: "I think it would be good for him to play and show the reason why he is here – he is a magnificent player – to play football."

Scotland remain in contact with FIFA and UEFA regarding World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine, while the Scottish FA (SFA) confirmed they will boycott fixtures with Russia amid the ongoing conflict.

Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday, with the fighting escalating over the weekend after weeks of heightening political tensions between the two countries.

The conflict has been widely condemned, with sporting, political and financial sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus in an attempt to deter the pair from continuing with the attacks.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) urged action as they called on international sporting federations to relocate or cancel any events set to take place in Russia or Belarus.

UEFA subsequently acted by stripping St Petersburg of the 2021-22 Champions League final, while Formula One removed the Russian Grand Prix from its 2022 calendar.

A plethora of international sporting stars, including Russian tennis stars Andrey Rubley and Daniil Medvedev, have demanded peace as they condemned war.

The SFA has followed suit by offering support to Ukraine, who Scotland's men are scheduled to face in a World Cup play-off semi-final on 24 March with the women's teams set to meet on 8 April.

"The Scottish FA President, Rod Petrie, has written to his counterpart at the Ukrainian Association of Football to send a message of support, friendship, and unity," a statement from the SFA read on Monday.

"Football is inconsequential amid conflict but we have conveyed the strong sense of solidarity communicated to us by Scotland fans and citizens in recent days.

"We remain in dialogue with UEFA and FIFA regarding our men's FIFA World Cup play-off and women's World Cup qualifier and have offered to support our Ukrainian colleagues' preparations as best we can in these unimaginably difficult circumstances.

"Should the current circumstances continue, we will not sanction the nomination of a team to participate in our scheduled UEFA Regions Cup fixture against Russia, due to be played in August.

"This will remain our position should any other fixtures arise at any level of international football."

Declan Rice has outlined his and West Ham's support of team-mate Andriy Yarmolenko, who has been given compassionate leave by the club.

West Ham announced on Friday that Yarmolenko had been granted time off by manager David Moyes after Russia invaded Ukraine, his homeland.

The forward, who grew up in Chernihiv and played club football in Kyiv, is a 106-cap Ukraine international.

Speaking after a 1-0 Premier League win over Wolves, Rice highlighted how tough recent days had been for Yarmolenko and pledged the team's support for the people of Ukraine.

"It's so, so important for me, for the team, for everyone at the club to support [Yarmolenko]," Rice told Sky Sports.

"The day it all started, we saw him at the training ground and he was in bits, and so were all the lads for him.

"We're all there for him, we're all there for the people of Ukraine. It's horrible what's happening, but we're all there with Yarma and the little tap on the shirt [bearing Yarmolenko's name] to start the game obviously brought some good luck.

"Tomas [Soucek] has spoken to him a little bit more, but we've all sent him a little message and he sent us a message in the group chat before the game saying 'good luck boys', so I'm sure that brought good luck for us today."

Hammers boss Moyes had earlier stated Yarmolenko was "not in a really good position at the moment".

London Stadium was lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag prior to Sunday's match, accompanied by a message which pledged "love and prayers to Andriy Yarmolenko and the people of Ukraine".

Meanwhile, the West Ham players warmed up in t-shirts bearing Yarmolenko's name, while visitors Wolves wore pre-match shirts displaying the message "no to war".

Andriy Shevchenko declared "war is not the answer" as he implored people to make their opposition to Russia's invasion of Ukraine known. 

Russia's military crossed the border into neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday and commenced military action, prompting widespread condemnation. 

Shevchenko, Ukraine's all-time leading goalscorer and former head coach, wanted people to join him in speaking out against the attacks as he expressed a desire for the restoration of peace. 

"In the early hours, a full-scale war was initiated by Russia. My people and my family are under attack," Shevchenko wrote on social media. 

"Ukraine and its population want peace and territorial integrity. Please, I ask you to support our country and call the Russian government to stop their aggression and violation of international law.  

"We only want peace. War is not the answer." 

World Athletics has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine but said, for now, there are no plans to relocate the 2022 World Race Walking Team Championships scheduled for March 4-5 in Muscat, Oman or the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships scheduled for March 18-20 in Belgrade, Serbia.

Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this week drawing outrage from governments and sporting organisations across the globe. World Athletics joined the throng on Thursday in a statement released on its website and on several media platforms.

In the statement, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe is said to have spoken to senior vice-president Sergey Bubka and the Ukraine Athletics Federation offering support.

Since 2015, the Russian Athletics Federation has been suspended from World Athletics due to doping violations and is, therefore, ineligible to host World Athletics events or send teams to international championships.

FIFA refused to make a snap decision on whether Russia will be allowed to host World Cup play-off matches in March but said it is "monitoring the situation". 

Widespread condemnation followed Russia's full-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday.

Stats Perform understands that UEFA will confirm on Friday that St Petersburg will no longer host this season's Champions League final. 

In a joint statement, Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, who are in the same qualification pathway as Russia for this year's World Cup, said they would not consider playing matches in the country. 

Russia are scheduled to take on Poland in Moscow on March 24. If they win, they will face Sweden or the Czech Republic at home five days later.

FIFA called for the "rapid cessation of hostilities and peace in Ukraine" but stopped short of confirming whether Russia's hosting rights would be taken away.

"FIFA condemns the use of force by Russia in Ukraine and any type of violence to resolve conflicts," the statement read. 

"Violence is never a solution and FIFA calls on all parties to restore peace through constructive dialogue. FIFA also continues to express its solidarity to the people affected by this conflict. 

"Regarding football matters in both Ukraine and Russia, FIFA will continue to monitor the situation and updates in relation to the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers will be communicated in due course." 

Ukraine will also contest the 2022 World Cup play-offs, but the draw precludes them from playing at home. 

Schalke have removed Gazprom branding from their shirts in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

The 2.Bundesliga club are sponsored by the Russian energy company, which is majority state-owned and the country's largest company in terms of revenue.

Schalke's move comes after Russia's attack on neighbouring Ukraine attracted widespread international condemnation.

The Gelsenkirchen-based team has not confirmed if it has severed its financial relationship with the company.

"Following recent developments, FC Schalke 04 have decided to remove the logo of main sponsor GAZPROM from the club's shirts," the club said in a statement.

"It will be replaced by lettering reading 'Schalke 04' instead. The association will inform you about further possible steps in due course."

Schalke's actions come amid mounting expectation that Russia will be stripped of hosting the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League final in May.

The competition's showpiece fixture is set to be played in St Petersburg, coincidentally at the Gazprom Arena.

However, Stats Perform understands European football's governing body, UEFA, will announce a change of venue after an emergency executive committee meeting on Friday.

Elsewhere, this year's Formula One Russian Grand Prix appears to be under threat, while serious doubts hang over next month's Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying play-offs, in which both Russia and Ukraine are set to take part.

UEFA-partnered fan group Football Supporters Europe (FSE) has publicly called for the relocation of May's Champions League final – currently set for the Russian city of St Petersburg – after the country launched an attack on neighbouring Ukraine. 

Russian president Vladimir Putin opted to launch a military assault on Ukraine on Thursday, having previously recognised the independence of two breakaway regions in the east of the country.

Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, responded by cutting diplomatic ties with Moscow and announcing the imposition of martial law.

As such, pressure is growing on UEFA to move European club football's biggest game away from the Gazprom Arena as a result of Russia's actions.

The FSE, an independent fans' organisation that is recognised as a representative association on fan issues by the likes of UEFA and the Council of Europe, has called for the governing body to strip Russia of the showpiece event.

"On this tragic day, our thoughts are with everyone in Ukraine, our friends, colleagues, members and their loved ones," read a post on the FSE's official Twitter account.

"Given the events unfolding, we expect an imminent announcement from UEFA on the relocation of the Champions League final from St Petersburg."

UEFA said in a statement earlier this week that there were "no plans" for a venue change, but pressure could now reach intolerable levels given the escalation of the crisis.

Last season's final between Chelsea and Manchester City was relocated to Porto from Istanbul with only two weeks' notice, as Turkey was on the United Kingdom's 'red' list, meaning fans were urged not to travel for the game due to coronavirus risk levels.

The Ukrainian Premier League has been suspended after the government's imposition of martial law following neighbouring Russia's decision to launch an attack on the country.

Russian president Vladimir Putin opted to launch a military assault on Ukraine on Thursday, having previously recognised the independence of two breakaway regions in the east of the country.

Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, responded by cutting diplomatic ties with Moscow and announcing the imposition of martial law.

As a result, Ukraine's premier footballing competition will be forced to halt. 

"Due to the imposition of martial law in Ukraine, the championship of Ukraine has been suspended," read a short statement on the league's website.

Defending champions and 16-time winners Dynamo Kiev currently trail Shakhtar Donetsk by two points at the division's summit, although the competition's ability to reach a conclusion will now be thrown into doubt.

The ongoing crisis has also brought scrutiny to UEFA's decision to host May's Champions League final in the Russian city of St Petersburg, with recent reports suggesting European football's showpiece event could be moved from the Gazprom Arena.

Likewise, FIFA's World Cup qualification campaign could also be affected, with Russia due to face Poland and Ukraine set to meet Scotland in the upcoming play-offs next month.

Roberto Mancini admitted Italy would rather not have to do battle with Portugal for a place in the 2022 World Cup if they get past North Macedonia.

The European champions were on Friday drawn to face North Macedonia in a semi-final next March after missing out on automatic qualification for the tournament in Qatar.

Italy will come up against either Portugal or Turkey in a decisive showdown if they avoid a semi-final upset.

Euro 2016 champions Portugal were consigned to a play-off spot in dramatic fashion as Aleksandar Mitrovic's last-gasp strike saw Serbia through as Group A winners.

Italy boss Mancini is confident his side will qualify, but gave an honest reaction to the prospect of trying to deny Cristiano Ronaldo what could be his last trip to a World Cup.

He said: "We are always confident and positive. Macedonia had a good qualifying group, we will have to play a great match. Then we will see what happens in the final.

Asked about the prospect of coming up against Portugal, he said: "We would have liked to avoid them, in the same way Portugal would have gladly avoided Italy."

The draw also threw up the possibility of Wales going up against Scotland for a place in the finals, should they overcome Austria and Ukraine.

Russia will host Poland, with the winners playing either Sweden or the Czech Republic. 

Italy or Portugal will miss out on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after the two most recent European champions were drawn in the same play-off path.

Roberto Mancini led Italy to a Euro 2020 triumph earlier this year, yet the Azzurri failed to qualify automatically for next year's World Cup, with Switzerland progressing instead.

Portugal, Euro 2016 winners, also fell short, finishing three points behind Serbia in Group A.

And now one of the heavyweights will fail to appear in Qatar, with both teams drawn together in Path C of the play-offs, which will take place in March.

Italy were drawn in a semi-final against minnows North Macedonia, who are aiming to make their first appearance at a World Cup, while Portugal will face Turkey.

Should they progress, Portugal will have home advantage in the Path C final to determine which team progresses to Qatar. While Cristiano Ronaldo could well be fighting to play in his final World Cup, the Azzurri will be aiming to avoid missing out on the tournament for a second successive time.

Path A threw up the possibility of Wales going up against Scotland for a place in the finals, should they overcome Austria and Ukraine, who went unbeaten in a qualifying group that also included reigning world champions France, respectively.

In Path B, Russia will host Poland and Sweden will play the Czech Republic. 

The winner of Russia v Poland will host the Path B final.

Play-offs draw in full

Path A

SF1 – Scotland v Ukraine

SF2 – Wales v Austria

F1 – Winner SF2 v Winner SF1

Path B

SF3 – Russia v Poland

SF4 – Sweden v Czech Republic

F2 – Winner SF3 v Winner SF4

Path C

SF5 – Italy v North Macedonia

SF6 – Portugal v Turkey

F3 – Winner SF6 v Winner SF5

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