Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early on Thursday has led to condemnation around the world, but three of Ukraine’s most celebrated sportspeople have made their voice heard in the form of Wladimir Klitschko, Garry Kasparov and Andriy Shevchenko.
Russian president Vladimir Putin announced via a television message that a military operation has been launched in eastern Ukraine, but as the hours have passed, more areas of the country have been targeted.
Yet, Klitschko made clear that Ukraine will not give up in the face of this push from Russia.
“Be sure: Ukraine is strong! It has a strong capital #Kyiv, strong cities, villages and a strong solid and united people who value above all their independence, sovereignty and peace in Europe. Its WILL to exist is infinite. Glory to Ukraine!” tweeted Klitschko, who signed up as a reserve in Ukraine’s territorial forces earlier this month.
“Democracy and freedom have no price… Ukraine wants peace, freedom, and sovereignty,” Klitschko said at that time.
“I signed up as a reserve for the territorial forces, for defending the city of Kyiv. Because of everything that is currently going on around Ukraine. The aggression from the Russian side.” His younger brother Vitali Klitschko, also a former world champion, is the mayor of Kyiv.”
The chess legend Garry Kasparov also came out against the launch of the military operation by Russia and specifically Putin.
“Every dollar in trade with Russia since he invaded Ukraine in 2014, every Euro of corrupt deals with his cronies, helped Putin build the war machine he is using to slaughter civilians in Europe today,” tweeted Kasparov.
Another Ukrainian sporting legend who offered their thoughts on the current crisis is Andriy Shevchenko, who played for the likes of AC Milan and Chelsea in his career before having a short spell in politics.
Ukraine is my motherland! I have always been proud of my people and my country,” he wrote as the caption for a post on Instagram.
“We have gone through many difficult times, and over the past 30 years we have formed as a nation! A nation of sincere, hardworking and freedom-loving citizens. This is our most important asset! Today is a difficult time for all of us. But we must unite! In unity, we will win! Glory to Ukraine!”