Shakhtar Donetsk are through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League ©Getty Images

Shakhtar Donetsk director of football Darijo Srna has spoken of his great pride at seeing his Ukrainian players continue to prosper on the pitch in the midst of their country’s war with Russia.

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the escalation of the war between Ukraine and Russia that has seen tens of thousands of people lose their lives.

Shakhtar have not played in their home city since 2014 due to Russia's invasion of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

The 13-time Ukrainian Premier League champions have since moved to Lviv and Kharkiv before agreeing a ground share deal with Dynamo Kiev to play at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium.

This season has seen Shakhtar play their home games in Kyiv but contested their Champions League matches in Poland.

Shakhtar came agonisingly close to beating defending champions and Spanish giants Real Madrid last October only for Antonio Rüdiger to score a 95-minute equaliser to draw 1-1 in Warsaw.

They also beat German outfit RB Leipzig and drew twice with Scottish side Celtic as they placed third in Group F to move into the Europa League.

"It’s not time to cry, it’s time to fight and be positive," former Croatia international Srna told the Metro.

Shakhtar Donetsk sports director Darijo Srna, centre, says he is the
Shakhtar Donetsk sports director Darijo Srna, centre, says he is the "most happy man in the world" when he sees his Ukranian players competing on the big stage ©Getty Images

"When I see my players playing Champions League like this.

"I don’t know, for me, I am the most happy man in the world."

Srna said he had been frustrated by the lack of support by FIFA after being left angered by its ruling last March to allow foreign players to suspend their contracts in Ukraine.

The Bureau of the FIFA Council agreed to suspend contracts of foreign players and coaches in Ukraine and Russia and extended this until the end of June this year.

Several Shakhtar players chose to suspend their contracts including Brazilian midfielder Tetê and Israeli forward Manor Solomon.

Shakhtar called FIFA's rules "inappropriate and over-reaching" and outlined four arguments to have the measures changed.

It is claimed by the club that the decision led to a loss of €40 million (£35.3 million/$42.5 million) for player transfer income and depletion of club revenues.

Shakhtar lodged an appeal with Court of Arbitration for Sport only for it to be dismissed in January.

Despite the blow, Shakhtar continue to enjoy success on the field, moving to second in the Ukrainian Premier League and reaching the Europa League quarter-finals.

"We want to show everyone that we are alive, and that we are doing something that we love, which is playing football," added Srna.