The world is in a state of chaos after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ‘military operation’ in Ukraine and a lot of sportspersons have taken to social media as well as on the field to stand beside the affected country.
On Thursday, Shakhtar Donetsk manager Roberto de Zerbi told Sky Sports, “We’re not heroes – but we’re really worried. Today morning we woke up hearing blows and explosions around.” “We’re fine, yes – but the situation is tense. We want to know how to proceed now”.
Shakhtar Donetsk manager Roberto de Zerbi from Ukraine: “We’re not heroes – but we’re really worried. Today morning we woke up hearing blows and explosions around”, he told @SkySport. ?
“We’re fine, yes – but the situation is tense. We want to know how to proceed now”.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 24, 2022
Brazilian players from Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv have appealed to their government for an immediate evacuation from Ukraine.
In a video alongside their families from a hotel in Kyiv, Junior Moraes, who plays as a forward for Donetsk, said the group are gathered waiting for a plan to leave the capital.
Jogadores brasileiros do Shakhtar e do Dínamo estão reunidos com as famílias em um hotel de Kiev. Acabaram de gravar esse vídeo pedindo ajuda das autoridades brasileiras para deixar o país. pic.twitter.com/7ah1RuKGo2
— Arthur Quezada (@ArthurQuezada) February 24, 2022
The 34-year-old goes on to state that the situation is “one of despair” after Russia launched an invasion of the country.
Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko also raised his displeasure with the situation on Instagram. He wrote, “The whole civilized world is worried about the situation in my country. I can’t stay away and try to convey my opinion. In the photo – my country. The country where I was born and raised. A country whose colors I defend in the international sports arena. A country that we try to glorify and develop. A country whose borders must remain inviolable. My country belongs to Ukrainians and no one will ever be able to appropriate it. We will not give up! Glory to Ukraine.”
On Wednesday night, Ukraine’s international footballer Roman Yaremchuk scored the equalizer for Benfica in a Champions League match and removed his shirt to display his nation’s coat of arms amid Russian escalation in his homeland.
The Ukrainian player’s gesture during Benfica’s 2-2 draw with Ajax in the Champions League round-of-16 match caught the attention of fans. With Yaremchuk’s side trailing, the 26-year-old striker was able to bundle in a rebound in the 72nd minute to tie the game. He celebrated the goal appropriately.
The footballer was wearing the trident of Ukraine under his team’s jersey. He was brought on as a substitute in the 62nd minute and got his goal 10 minutes later.
Roman Yaremchuk ??????
He just HAD to score tonight!
What a celebration too!
Exceeding many Ukrainian expectations
ACTIONS speak louder than words ??? pic.twitter.com/Sp12eiYbAe
— Zorya Londonsk (@ZoryaLondonsk) February 23, 2022
Russian footballer Fedor Smolov, a 32-year-old striker currently playing for his country, became one of the first Russian sportsmen to express his heartbreak at the invasion of Ukraine by his country. He is one of the high profile Russian athletes to speak out on Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine
“No to war” – he posted on Instagram.
Meanwhile, Russian authorities on Thursday warned anti-war sympathisers from gathering for protests after President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Premier League suspended operations on Thursday due to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s decision to impose martial law. The league has been on a two-month winter break and was due to resume on Friday. It did not give any planned date to restart.
The International Paralympic Committee said it was in talks with sports officials in Ukraine and Russia as their teams prepare to head to China for the start of the Paralympic Games next week.
UEFA will no longer stage this season’s Champions League final in St. Petersburg after Russia attacked Ukraine, The Associated Press has learned.
An extraordinary meeting of the UEFA executive committee will be held on Friday to discuss the geopolitical crisis and when officials are set to confirm taking the May 28 showpiece game out of Russia, a person with knowledge of the process said on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private talks.
In another development, German soccer club Schalke says it is removing the logo of Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom from its jerseys.