Ukraine: Shakhtar Donetsk player Mykhaylo Mudryk signs for Chelsea - and his former team pledges millions to war effort

Ukrainian football team Shakhtar Donetsk has pledged millions of pounds to its country's war effort, after Chelsea FC signed one of its star players.

Mykhaylo Mudryk, 22, has joined the west London club for a fee of £88.5m, after seven years at the Ukrainian top flight team.

Shakhtar, though named after the Donetsk region, currently plays in Kyiv, due to the Russian occupation in the club's namesake region.

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Mudryk's transfer means the club's chief, Rinat Akhmetov, has launched a scheme to assist in the Ukrainian war effort, pledging $25m (£20.5m) to help soldiers and their families.

Mr Akhmetov said: "I have made a decision to launch the Heart of Azovstal, a project designed to help Mariupol defenders and the families of fallen soldiers.

"Their acts of bravery are unparalleled in the modern history. It is them, their sacrifice and courage that helped contain the enemy in the first months of the war and let all of us feel the inevitability of the victory of Ukraine now.

"I am allocating $25m (UAH 1 billion) today to help our soldiers, defenders, and their families.

"The money will be used to cover different needs - from providing medical and prosthetic treatment and psychological support to meeting specific requests. To ensure transparency, the project will have a professional independent team that will be in touch with the Azovstal defenders, their families, care providers, and volunteers."

Mr Akhmetov said it was his dream for the club to win European trophies, but understands that it is not possible during the conflict in Ukraine, which he describes as "the horrendous and unjust war waged against us by the Russian Federation".

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Mr Akhmetov added that he is proud of Mudryk, and that "this guy is leading by example, showing that talent and hard work can make the impossible possible".

"I am absolutely confident that the entire Europe will acclaim Mykhaylo's brilliant and fine play," he added.

The Donetsk president also mooted the idea of a game between Chelsea and his team at the Donbas Arena in the future.

Talking about his move to Stamford Bridge, a club previously owned by the now-sanctioned Roman Abramovich, Murdyk said: "I'm so happy to sign for Chelsea.

"This is a huge club, in a fantastic league, and it is a very attractive project for me at this stage of my career. I'm excited to meet my new team-mates, and I'm looking forward to working and learning under Graham Potter and his staff."

The blues also thanked his former club for making the move possible.