After electing to not speak with the media on Thursday, Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin broke his silence on Friday to address the ongoing conflict between Russia, his homeland, and Ukraine.
Washington made the Russian-born team captain available to speak following practice for the first time since Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered a military strike on the eastern European country. Ovechkin, a well-documented Putin supporter, looked visibly distraught when asked for his thoughts on the crisis.
“Obviously, it's a hard situation. 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,” he told reporters.
Ovechkin was then asked if he still supports Putin despite the outcry from around the world. The 36-year-old notably started a social movement in 2017 aimed to drive support for the heavily-criticized politician.
“Well, he is my president, but I am not in politics,” Ovechkin replied. “I am an athlete, and you know, how I said, I hope everything is going to be done soon. It’s hard situation right now for both sides and everything, like how I said, everything I hope is going to be end. I’m not in control of this situation.”
Although Ovechkin did not denounce Putin, his stance on the crisis itself echoed the sentiment shared by many athletes from around the world who have already spoken out.
When asked if there was a message he'd like share, Ovechkin quickly spoke up.
“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.”