Oleksandr Zinchenko says he would not be able to look his daughter in the eye when she grows up if he did not do everything in his power to help his home country of Ukraine in their war with Russia.

In an emotional address in New Jersey on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the US, Zinchenko thanked Americans for their support of Ukraine and hopes the charity match he has helped to organise next month will raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in his homeland as well as vital funds.

Game4Ukraine, which is due to take place at Stamford Bridge on August 5, will raise money for the reconstruction of the Mykhailo-Kotsiubynsky School in Chernihiv Oblast which was destroyed by Russian missiles.

Zinchenko, who returned to Ukraine last month for the first time since Russia’s invasion in February last year, has a one-year-old daughter Eva with his wife Vlada Sedan, a TV journalist, and hopes she can reflect with pride in the future about his efforts to help his fellow Ukrainians.

“Being here [in America], I would like to say a massive thanks to the US and the rest of the world which is helping us a lot in this tough moment,” the Arsenal defender said.

“With the event coming soon, August 5th in London, I feel that my mission is to try to help as much as I can. I want my kids when they grow up to ask me, ‘Daddy, what did you do when this war happened in our homeland?’ And I want to look into my daughter’s eye and say me and your mum tried to do our best to help our country.

“Me obviously using football, which is the best sport in the world, to represent our country in the best way and with all the ex-players, legends, actors, it’s so important.

“Not just to raise funds to build a school in Ukraine, but to send a message to the rest of the world and to the Ukrainian people staying there and fighting for their independence, to say: ‘Look, you are not alone.”

Zinchenko will captain one team and Andriy Shevchenko, the former Chelsea, AC Milan and Ukraine striker, will captain another side at Stamford Bridge with a host of celebrities and former players set to feature. Arsene Wenger and Emma Hayes have been lined up as managers.

Zinchenko said some people have grown tired of hearing about the fighting between Ukraine and Russia. But he said he was touched to recently see a young boy sporting a non-permanent tattoo of the Ukrainian flag and that it served as a reminder of the support that still exists.

“In London I was just walking with my daughter, I see cars with kids and the other day I saw a family and their kid,” he said. “He was maybe 7 years old, maybe from Czech Republic, and the kid had no shirt on and he had a temporary tattoo on his shoulder with a Ukrainian flag and it made me think ‘Wow, these guys are with us’. This little thing means a lot for us. Being a Ukrainian I am so proud.

“Some people have fatigue from this war but we cannot give up. We need to fight for our freedom and independence because I couldn’t imagine in 2023 this could happen.

“The place where you were born and raised and another country comes to your place and destroys everything, and kills kids, and doing a lot of scary things to achieve what? That is the question. In this case I’m talking to people with fatigue, today it’s Ukraine, but tomorrow it could be your country. That is why we need to stick together and fight until the end.”

To donate in support of the Ukraine crisis visit https://www.game4ukraine.com/donate.html