The sports world was greatly impacted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine home last year. As a result, Russia faced a ban from the World Cup, and a letter was sent by 30 Olympic nations to the IOC expressing concerns about Russia's participation in the Games. Amidst the conflict, several athletes, including renowned boxers like Oleksandr Usyk, actively served on the front line in Ukraine. Tragically, Dmitry Zakharchuk, a European finswimming champion, lost his life during the fighting.
Ban on Russian and Belarus athletes should stay
While some sports took a strong stance by banning Russia, many individual sports opted to allow their athletes to continue competing. Notably, both the ATP and WTA tours in tennis, along with the grand slam events, proceeded without excluding Russian participants.
However, there was one exception to this leniency: Wimbledon. Yet, the decision to uphold the ban for this summer's tournament has now been reversed, a move that Zinchenko disagrees with.
During an interview with Piers Morgan on TALKTV, the Arsenal defender expressed his belief that all athletes from Russia and Belarus should face bans.
Morgan initiated the discussion by addressing Wimbledon's reversal of the ban and asked the former Manchester City star for his stance on the matter.
"I don't agree," Zinchenko answered, "I am one of the Ukrainians who doesn't like to see them in the highest level of any sport."
"They should be banned? And do you think both countries, Russia and Belarus?", Morgan inquired.
"For sure," said the footballer, "100% they shouldn't be allowed. Why? Because how many bombs and rockets are being sent from Belarus? How many?
"Listen I'm not political. I don't understand anything about it [politics], I don't understand, and I would never understand. Because this is not my area.
"But, this is not political."
Morgan interrupted saying: "It's life and death!"
"It is war," the Arsenal star responded, "And they talk about don't put politics in sport. This is not politics this is war."
Wimbledon's ban reversal
Last year, Wimbledon made a significant ruling that prevented players from Russia and Belarus from participating in the prestigious tennis tournament. As a consequence of this decision, no ranking points were awarded at the highly anticipated event, nor were any of the warm-up tournaments in the UK organized by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).
However, due to concerns raised by the LTA regarding the potential cancellation of their major events leading up to the grand slam at SW19 this summer, the ban has been overturned.
Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club, said: "We continue to condemn Russia's illegal invasion, and our wholehearted support remains with the people of Ukraine.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision, not taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who will be impacted.
"It is our view that, considering all factors, these are the most appropriate arrangements for The Championships for this year.
"If circumstances change materially between now and the commencement of The Championships, we will consider and respond accordingly."