A group of Brazilian footballers who play for Ukrainian clubs have asked for immediate help to leave the country after tensions with Russia escalated and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law.
Brazilian players from Ukrainian teams Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk asked for help fleeing the country in a video shared on social media while staying at a hotel in the capital.
Players including Junior Moraes, a Brazilian who received Ukrainian citizenship in 2019 and has 11 caps for his adopted country, have appealed to authorities in his native country to help them leave.
“All friends and family are waiting for a solution to leave. We are inside a hotel. Pray for us,” wrote Moraes in an Instagram post.
Journalist Arthur Quezada quoted Moraes saying:“The situation is desperate. I ask you to release this video so that it reaches the government.
“The borders are closed, the banks, there is no fuel, there will be a shortage of food, there is no money. We are gathered waiting for a plan to leave Ukraine.
Earlier on Thursday, it was announced that the Ukrainian Premier League will be suspended for at least a month.
Ukrainian Premier League side Shakhtar Donetsk have become particularly well-known in recent years for bringing in talent from Brazil.
The club was based in the town of the same name in the war-torn east of the country, before relocating. He now plays home games in Kyiv.
The conflict escalated significantly this month as two breakaway areas in the Donbass region reported shelling by Ukrainian forces.
This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to officially recognize the two regions – the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) – and on Thursday ordered forces to enter the region.
Ukraine and its Western allies condemned the move, although Moscow said it was aimed at defending the local population and “denazify” and “demilitarize” Ukraine.
Ukraine has officially severed diplomatic relations with Russia and restricted its airspace to civilian flights. Heavy traffic was seen leaving the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Thursday.
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