The NBA’s two active Ukrainian players — Raptors’ wing Svi Mykhailiuk and Kings center Alex Len — released a joint statement Thursday condemning Russia’s invasion of their home country.
“A great tragedy befell our dear homeland Ukraine,” Len, 28, and Mykhailiuk, 24, said in a joint statement shared to their separate Twitter accounts.
“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!”
Before the Kings lost to the Nuggets at home on Thursday, both teams held a moment of silence and linked arms in solidarity with Len and his native Ukraine.
The center returned to the Kings last August after a short stint with the Wizards. Len, a former first-round draft pick by the Suns, was traded by the Hawks to Sacramento in Feb. 2020.
Mykhailiuk, who is in his fourth season, signed a two-year deal with the Raptors last August.
The players released a statement hours after the Associated Press reported that Saint Petersburg will no longer host the 2022 Champions League final due to Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions to invade Ukraine, which AP News reported amounts to the largest ground war in Europe since World War II.
The National Basketball Players Association shared a tweet Thursday that read: “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted by the recent events in Ukraine, and especially with our Ukrainian players Alex Len and Svi Mykhailiuk and their families during this difficult time.”
The WNBA confirmed Thursday that its athletes playing overseas for Ukraine-based teams are currently not in the country.
“The league has also been in contact with WNBA players who are in Russia, either directly or through their agents,” a WNBA spokesperson said in a statement to Sports Illustrated’s Ben Pickman.
Formula 1 announced on Friday that it has decided to cancel the Russian Grand Prix, amid the ongoing attacks. The event was scheduled to take place in Sochi in September.