West Ham’s Ukrainian footballer Andriy Yarmolenko surprises refugees from the war with Russia with gifts after his final home game of the Premier League season… with a six-year-old child living with MP Grant Shapps among those who received a present
- Andriy Yarmolenko gave gifts to Ukrainian refugees after playing for West Ham
- It was the 32-year-old’s last home game for the club before he exits this summer
- A six-year-old living with MP Grant Shapps was among those who received a gift
- Yarmolenko grew up in Chernihiv and has 106 caps for the Ukraine national team
Andriy Yarmolenko surprised a group of Ukrainian refugees with gifts following his final home game for West Ham on Sunday.
The 106-cap Ukraine international, who is leaving the club at the end of his contract this summer, came on as a substitute in the closing stages of the Hammers’ 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
He posed for pictures on the pitch with his wife and two sons besides a Ukrainian flag after the match, before greeting several young refugees with presents.
Andriy Yarmolenko gave gifts to Ukrainian refugees after his last West Ham home game
Among the children who received a gift was a six-year-old refugee who is staying with the government’s transport secretary Grant Shapps.
‘…including the 6yr old Ukrainian boy who is living with us,’ the MP tweeted. ‘Thanks @Yarmolenko_7 – that was incredibly kind of you and he was super excited to meet you 🙂 @WestHam gained a new fan today!!!’
Yarmolenko, who grew up in Chernihiv, was given compassionate leave by West Ham when Russia launched their invasion of Ukraine in late February.
A six-year-old refugee living with MP Grant Shapps was among those who received a present
Yarmolenko and his wife posed for photos with a Ukraine flag after the match on Sunday
In his first game back, the 32-year-old opened the scoring in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa in the Premier League.
‘It was so emotional for me because of the situation in my country,’ Yarmolenko told Sky Sports after the game. ‘It’s so difficult for me right now in this moment to think about football. Every day in my country, the Russian army are killing Ukrainian people.
It was so emotional. To be honest, I don’t know what to say. It’s so emotional. I just want to thank my teammates who have supported me all the time, every day. I want to say to West Ham fans that they have supported me and the Ukrainian people.
The 32-year-old, who grew up in Chernihiv, has earned 106 caps for the Ukraine national team
West Ham showed their support for Yarmolenko and Ukraine following Russia’s invasion
‘I also want to say thank you to all British people, because we feel your support for us. I just tried to give everything on the pitch. I knew how important the game was for us today.’
Four days later, he netted the winning goal in extra-time as West Ham knocked Sevilla out of the Europa League.
Yarmolenko will depart the London Stadium this summer after four years at the club, in which he has made 85 appearances and scored 13 goals.