Attacks on Ukraine ‘won’t destroy Shakhtar morale’

Shakhtar Donetsk were beaten by Real Madrid last week

Shakhtar Donetsk will not allow Russia’s latest attacks on Ukraine to “destroy morale” before Tuesday’s Champions League match with Real Madrid, says coach Igor Jovicevic.

Monday’s missile strikes on cities across Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv, marked the most widespread attacks in months.

Fourteen people have been killed, with a further 97 injured.

“You cannot destroy us,” said Jovicevic.

“Our spirit, our unity. You can temporarily break the mood. But you cannot destroy us.

“Together we are stronger. And we as sportsmen perceive it as a social responsibility. We must be close to what is happening in Ukraine, and we have great empathy.”

Shakhtar will take on Real in Warsaw, Poland, where they are hosting their Champions League Group F matches.

On Monday, explosions were reported in Lviv, which is a temporary base for the club during the war.

“Many of my players have their families in Ukraine, and it influences us. But it won’t destroy our morale, and we will fight as all the armed forces [of Ukraine] fight for us and our freedom,” Jovicevic added.

“We are worried about this situation now. But still, the game will not be cancelled. We have to go out and show that we fight for each other. And that we represent the Ukrainian people tomorrow.”

Shakhtar were beaten 2-1 by Real last week in the Spanish capital, but are second in Group F behind the La Liga side, above RB Leipzig and Celtic.

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