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Shevchenko on Ukraine crisis overtaking football: 'My job is to stop innocent children being killed'

Andriy Shevchenko has dismissed any concerns about the Ukraine crisis overtaking football, insisting "my job is to stop innocent children being killed".

Shevchenko and a number of other former and current Ukraine players have been sending out anti-war messages since the beginning of Russia's invasion of the country in February.

The military conflict has had a big impact in the football world, not least at Chelsea, who have seen their billionaire owner Roman Abramovich sanctioned by the UK government, and Shevchenko says all avenues must be explored in order to bring peace.

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What's been said?

The Ukraine legend, who took in a spell at Chelsea during his playing career, does not want to see the club collapse because of Abramovich's links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Shevchenko does, however, feel footballing issues are a secondary concern while so many civilians are losing their lives, as he told the Daily Mail during a sit-down with former Liverpool and England midfielder Jamie Redknapp.

"The history which Chelsea built cannot be cancelled," he said when quizzed on the situation at Stamford Bridge.

"The Chelsea fans will always stay behind the club because they love the club. I know it's a difficult moment. But I am also in a position where, with what is happening to my country, I want to appeal to everyone to play your part.

"Remember what is most important. I want only one thing: to bring the peace in my country, to stop the killing of innocent people, to stop the killing of kids.

"We all know war is cruel. But we cannot stand for that.

"I'm a father of four. You are a father of three, Jamie. We cannot stand for that. Innocent children are dying. For no reason. This is what I work for – to stop this war. This war does not make reasons."

Shevchenko reveals fear for family in Ukraine

Shevchenko also revealed that a number of his friends and family members are still in Ukraine either trying to escape or doing their part to fight back against Russian forces.

"You feel every bomb that touches the ground because the house is shaking," said the 45-year-old. "This is what the war is now. It's in that stage where the Russians surround the city and are just bombing. They don't stop. It's relentless. 

"It doesn't give the Ukrainian people the chance for humanitarian corridors. My mum is there. My sister is there. My uncle. My aunty. My cousin. My friends – some in the frontline.

"They stand for our country, for our freedom, for our choice, for our pride. We defend. We fight. We have to. We don't have a choice."

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