As feared for weeks, Russia invaded neighboring nation Ukraine on Thursday, striking on several fronts and already taking over vital territories such as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Air raid sirens have rung out in the capital city of Kyiv and other towns and villages across the nation.
American President Joseph Biden condemned the attack and announced a new, tougher round of sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said, via NBC News.
There are currently two Ukrainian players in the NBA — the Sacramento Kings’ Alex Len and the Toronto Raptors’ Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk — and they released a joint statement condemning the invasion.
НЕТ ВОЙНЕ #PrayForUkraine #StandWithUkraine @sviat_10 pic.twitter.com/hGJG4fE8Ce
— Alex Len (@alexlen) February 24, 2022
“A great tragedy befell our dear homeland Ukraine. 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 was born in Antratsyt and started his career in several domestic leagues, including the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague, before playing to seasons at the University of Maryland. He was the No. 5 pick by the Suns in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Mykhailiuk was born in Cherkasy and has competed for his country in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Our thoughts are with the families of Len and Mykhailiuk, and we hope they are safe.