Arsenal left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko has openly asked for the ban of Belarusian and Russian athletes from the top-level of professional sports amidst the long ongoing invasion of his native Ukraine. In February 2022, Russia invaded and occupied parts of Ukraine kick-starting the Russo-Ukrainian War, which had brewing been since 2014. The invasion has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and triggered Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II.

In conversation with TalkTV host Piers Morgan, Zinchenko spoke about his immediate reaction to the Russian invasion and revealed how his wife was in tears as she showed him the pictures of the attack. Further Morgan spoke about the place of Belarusian and Russian athletes in mainstream, top-flight sports and gave an example of Wimbledon for reversing the ban. 

Reacting to this Oleksandr Zinchenko, passionately raised the question regarding possible reasons behind not banning athletes from these regions. He further stated that all athletes from these should be completely banned from competing at the highest level. 

“I don’t agree,” said Zinchenko before adding, “I am one of the Ukrainians who doesn’t like to see them in the highest level of any sport. For sure they should be banned. 100% they shouldn’t be allowed. Why? Because how many bombs and rockets are being sent from Belarus? How many?”

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Piers Morgan then questioned the Ukrainian international about shaking hands with Belarusian and Russian athletes during pre or postgame addressing which he quickly stated no. He said, “I will never accept their reaction. I have to be honest. You can say ‘they didn’t do anything’. Yes they did, they didn’t react,” he said.

Adding to the previous point, Oleksandr Zinchenko also criticized athletes with a huge following for not taking a chance and sharing messages to spot the war. He said, “They have millions of followers behind them and chances to speak out. If you have 10 million followers on Instagram saying ‘Stop It’, some people from that 10 million will spread it. And it will work in the end. But if no one is going to speak out because they’re scared, do not call us brothers. Never again.” he said.