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Ukrainian NBA players denounce Russian invasion

Alex Len and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, the only two Ukrainian players in the NBA, released a statement Thursday condemning the Russian invasion of their homeland.

Sacramento Kings center Len and Toronto Raptors wing Mykhailiuk called for unity among the Ukrainian people and prayed for friends, family and others in the country.

“A great tragedy befell our dear homeland Ukraine,” the two said in their statement posted on their social media 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!”

Len, 28, is averaging 6.2 points per game for the Kings, who took on the Denver Nuggets on Thursday as the NBA returned to action in the wake of its All-Star break.

Mykhailiuk, 24, is averaging 5.3 points per game for the Raptors.

Other Ukrainian athletes, including footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko of Manchester City in the English Premiership and tennis player Elina Svitolina Monfils, have also spoken out.

Zinchenko denounced the invasion and attended a vigil in Manchester on Thursday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at least 137 people were killed after the first day of fighting.

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