Former women’s tennis world number three Elina Svitolina has told AFP she hopes one day to return and see her octogenarian grandmother who has been trapped in the Black Sea port of Odessa since Russia invaded Ukraine.

“I hope that this will end one day and I can come back and see her,” said Svitolina.

The 27-year-old was speaking a week after she and Ukrainian Champions League-winning football legend Andriy Shevchenko were asked on a Zoom call by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to become ambassadors for United24.

The charity was launched by Zelensky to collect donations to cover Ukraine’s most pressing needs: Defence and de-mining, medical aid and to rebuild the country which has been devastated since Vladimir Putin launched the invasion in February.

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