Former Arsenal defender Oleg Luzhny has put his coaching career on the hold to stay in Ukraine and fight against the invading Russian Army. Ukraine is under attack from Russia for the past five days and regular citizens have been asked to take up arms to defend the territorial integrity of the country. Luzhny is amongst those who have decided to stay back and fight for Ukraine. Luzhny, while speaking to Sky Sports, said he “wants to go to the United Kingdom and coach but before anything, he will stand firmly and fight for his people”.
“The situation is horrific. I want to come to coach in the UK but before anything, I will stand firmly and fight for my people, for my country, and for democracy. We all hope this will be over soon as innocent lives are being lost and families are being torn apart. A country being invaded and destroyed is all for what? We need to stand together as one and bring to an end this criminal warfare,” Luzhny was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
Luzhny played for Dynamo Kyiv between 1989 to 1999 before moving to Arsenal for four seasons. Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had spotted Luzhny during his club’s matches against Dynamo Kyiv and signed him in 1999 as cover for ex-England international Lee Dixon. Luzhny played 110 matches for Arsenal and even captained the team once in a League Cup match. After his stint at Arsenal, Luzhny moved to Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he played for a season before finishing his professional playing career with Venta.
Coming back to the war in Ukraine, Russia launched the military operation in the country in the early hours of February 24. The Russian military invaded its neighbour through the land, air, and sea, bombing major Ukrainian security installations on Day 1 of the attack. According to the Ukrainian government, more than 600 civilians, including volunteer forces have been killed so far in the conflict, while the numbers on the Russian side remain unclear. As per the latest reports, Russia and Ukraine are scheduled to hold peace negotiations at the Belarus border on Monday.