Sports stars are calling for ‘no more war’ in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Associated Press reported on Saturday that Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin asked for peace, saying that Ukraine invasion is a hard situation. “I have many friends in Russia and Ukraine, and it’s hard to see the war,” he said. “I hope soon it’s going to be over and there’s going to be peace in the whole world.”
The Russian-born NHL star has played in the National Hockey League since 2004, and as of now, he has scored 762 goals and 621 assists in a total of 1,248 games, standing at No. 4 on all-time NHL goals list. Ovechkin is known as a long-time supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Putin is my president. But I am not a politician,” said Ovechkin. “I’m an athlete.”
Andrey Rublev, a Russian professional tennis player, also addressed the Russian invasion of Ukraine after winning a semifinal at the Dubai Championships on Sunday. He wrote “No War Please” on a TV camera moments after advancing to the final, speaking out against war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, various international sports events scheduled to take place in Russia have been cancelled in a row. The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) officially announced that it would stage this year’s men’s world championships, which were expected to take place in Russia from June to July, in other countries.
Formula One also canceled the 2022 Russian Grand Prix that was due to take place in Sochi Autodrom on Sept. 25. The International Judo Federation also announced that it would boycott the 2022 Grand Slam tournament in Kazan, Russia, which was slated to take place in May.
Poland and Sweden refused to play Russia in FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The Swedish Football Association issued a statement on Sunday that demanded the FIFA to suspend a play-off with Russia scheduled to take place in March. “Whatever the FIFA decides, we will not play against Russia,” read the statement. Poland was due to play Russia at a 2022 World Cup qualification on March 24, a winning team of which would face the winner of a match between Sweden and the Czech Republic on March 29. The Czech Republic also seems to boycott a match with Russia.
Dong-Wook Kim firstname.lastname@example.org