Alex Ovechkin, the National Hockey League’s most prominent Russian player, asked for peace on Friday in his first public comments since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began earlier this week.
“Please, no more war. It doesn’t matter who is in the war — Russia, Ukraine, different countries — I think we live in a world, like, we have to live in peace and a great world,” Ovechkin told media Friday.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin media availability after practice in Philadelphia. pic.twitter.com/y2gxFpV3CL
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 25, 2022
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the neighbouring eastern European country of Ukraine on Thursday. Troops raided the border by land, air, and sea, forcing civilians to evacuate and shelter themselves.
“Obviously it’s a hard situation,” said the Washington Capitals captain, who is from Moscow. “I have lots of friends in Russia and Ukraine and it’s hard to see the war. I hope soon it’s going to be over and there’s going to be peace in the whole world.
“Some things I can’t control. It’s not in my hands. I hope it’s going to end soon and it’s going to be peace in both countries. I don’t control this.”
Ovechkin has been a vocal supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past. His official Instagram account, with 1.6 million followers, features an avatar of him and Putin.
In all this, I'm certainly shocked that Alex Ovechkin still has his Instagram profile picture of him with Vladimir Putin.
Certainly, he has to be questioned about that relationship. pic.twitter.com/JOS2OVnPYm
— Salim Nadim Valji (@salimvalji) February 24, 2022
Ovechkin, who is first in NHL history among Russian-born skaters with 762 goals and 1,383 points in 1,248 games, was asked if he still supports Putin as he leads an invasion of Ukraine.
“Well, he is my president,” Ovechkin replied. “But how I said, I am not in politics. I am an athlete and you know, I hope everything is going to be done soon. It’s a hard situation right now for both sides and everything. Everything, I hope, is going to end.
“I’m not in control of this situation.”