Russian dancer Pasha Kovalev says he will raise money for children in Ukraine

Pasha Kovalev says the Ukraine invasion 'hits too close to home' for him. (David M. Benett/Getty Images)
Pasha Kovalev says the Ukraine invasion 'hits too close to home' for him. (David M. Benett/Getty Images)

Russian dancer Pasha Kovalev has revealed his charitable foundation will use some of its funds to help children affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The former Strictly Come Dancing star said the current crisis "hits too close to home" for him and fellow Russian dancer Anya Garnis, with whom he runs charity event Rise Up With the Arts.

Read more: Strictly pro fears for grandmother trapped in Ukraine

Kovalev moved from his home nation to the USA in 2001 for his dance career and then relocated to the UK a decade later to take part in Strictly Come Dancing.

In a statement on Instagram, he wrote: "Our passport may say one thing but our hearts are with our family, friends and everyone still in Ukraine that are fighting for freedom and lives.

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"It only feels right that our show Rise Up with the Arts, along with 3 charities that we are already supporting, will now focus on donating funds raised to the Save The Children charity that helps children and young people affected by this terrible conflict.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child but this time it will take the whole world to make the change happen and end this madness. Let's make art not war."

Read more: Sturgeon calls Clive Myrie an "unsung hero" over Ukraine reporting

Kovalev's wife — Countdown numbers whizz Rachel Riley — shared her husband's statement, alongside a red heart emoji.

The couple are the latest figures from the world of celebrity to offer their support and solidarity to the people of Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.

Pasha Kovalev is married to 'Countdown' star Rachel Riley. (David M. Benett/Getty Images for Julien MacDonald)
Pasha Kovalev is married to 'Countdown' star Rachel Riley. (David M. Benett/Getty Images for Julien MacDonald)

Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse has expressed fears for her Ukrainian husband's family, who are still in the country, saying there's "nothing" she can do to help them.

Kyiv-born Resident Evil actor Milla Jovovich said she was "heartbroken and dumbstruck" by the conflict, while Mila Kunis, who was also born in Ukraine, has pledged to match donations up to £2.25m.

Read more: Channel 4 to air comedy series starring Ukraine president

Meanwhile, elite sport continues to show support for the people of Ukraine, with other high-profile matches following in the footsteps of the emotional display before last weekend's game between Everton and Manchester City.

Before the game, all 22 players were draped in Ukrainian flags in solidarity with City's Oleksandr Zinchenko and Everton's Vitaliy Mykolenko.

Watch: Pasha Kovalev and Rachel Riley welcome second child