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14 Jun, 2022 15:21

Shevchenko ‘being used’ for anti-Russian purposes, politician says

The AC Milan legend recently appeared in a Ukrainian government video campaign
Shevchenko ‘being used’ for anti-Russian purposes, politician says

Russian State Duma Deputy Alexander Yushchenko has criticized former AC Milan and Chelsea Andriy Shevchenko for appearing in a Ukrainian state video that he deemed anti-Russian.

The clip runs over a minute and shows ex-Ukraine national team manager Shevchenko call on the world of sport and its athletes to boycott all Russian sports plus Russian sportsmen and women who have remained silent about their country's military operation in his homeland. 

Speaking on a Match TV program, Yushchenko said he was "sad" to have seen the video, with the first thing in it that caught his eye its "Hollywood script and style."

"In Ukraine people like Shevchenko are objects to be used," Yushchenko added. "They have no other option."

Yuschenko said he does not "blame" Shevchenko, who in his view "is a prisoner of the nationalists who came to Ukraine" just "like the rest" and will therefore be used in such a manner due to his legendary status as a former Ballon d'Or and Champions League winner.

"He was and will remain a great athlete," Yuschenko stressed.

Shevchenko has also spoken out against Russia's military operation in the western media on Sky Sports News and was pictured at a rally opposing it in London in late February.

Other leading Ukrainian sportsmen who have been vocal in calling for Russian athletes to be sanctioned include the former heavyweight champion boxing brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, with Vitali also the mayor of Kiev. 

Stepping down from his role as head coach of the Ukrainian national team following a humbling 4-0 quarter-final loss to finalists England at Euro 2020 last summer, Shevchenko took over at Serie A outfit Genoa but was fired after two months in charge when winning just one match and losing seven. 

The Euro 2020 appearance will be Ukraine's last in a major tournament until at least Euro 2024 at the earliest after they lost a Qatar 2022 World Cup playoff final 1-0 to Wales in Cardiff on June 5 which ended the hosts' 64-year drought in reaching the FIFA spectacle.