Sacramento Kings center Alex Len and Toronto Raptors wing Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, the only two Ukrainian players in the NBA, have released a joint statement condemning the Russian invasion of their homeland.
The pair called for unity among the Ukrainian people and prayed for their friends, family and others currently in the country.
The full statement in English:
A great tragedy befell our dear homeland Ukraine. We categorically condemn the war. Ukraine is a peaceful sovereign state inhabited by people who want to decide their own destiny. We pray for our families, friends, relatives and all the people who are in the territory of Ukraine. We hope for an end to this terrible war as soon as possible. Dear fellow Ukrainians, hold on! Our strength is in unity! We are with you!
Alex Len & Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
The Russian invasion of Ukraine began early Thursday morning immediately after an effective declaration of war by Russian President Vladimir Putin, with air strikes against cities and military bases across the country and troops and tanks moving across the border from three directions.
Denunciation of the attack against a peaceful country has come in from around the world, as well as from inside Russia. Censorship has come from the realm of sports as well. UEFA has already been reported to be moving its Champions League final out of St. Petersburg following the attack, while four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vetterl is skipping the Russian Grand Prix and calling for the race to be canceled.
Other Ukrainian athletes have spoken out against the attack, most notably the country’s famed Klitschko brothers, who have promised to take up arms for their country.