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Brazilian soccer stars stuck in war-torn Ukraine beg for help

Brazilian soccer players who play in Ukraine made desperate pleas to their government Thursday for help escaping the war-torn nation, saying they’re “going through chaos.”

At least 10 South American stars — including Brazilian international forward David Neres — begged for aid as players from rival Ukrainian sides huddled together in a hotel room with a group of wives and children.

“There’s no fuel, the border is closed, the airspace is closed. There’s no way for us to get out,” said Marlon Santos, one of 13 Brazilians who play for Kyiv-based FC Shakhtar Donetsk, one of Ukraine’s top clubs.

“We are really desperate. We are going through chaos,” the defender wrote alongside the video on Instagram. 

“The desperation is agonizing. We wait for the support from our country. We speak in the name of all the Brazilians in Ukraine,” he said.

Others huddled with them included players for top rival team Dynamo Kyiv and the squad’s left winger Carlos de Pena from Uruguay.

Brazilian footballers who play in Ukranian clubs and their families, asking the Brazilian government for help to be evacuated, at a hotel in Kiev, on February 24, 2022
Brazilian soccer players are asking the Brazilian government for help to be evacuated from Ukraine.
AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin as he speaks about authorising a special military operation in Ukrainian Donbass region in Moscow, Russia, 24 February 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about authorizing a special military operation in Ukraine.
EPA/RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PRESS SERVICE / HANDOUT
Children wait by bags with their belongings as they arrive at a train station to leave Kostiantynivka, the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022
Children with their belongings as they arrive at a train station to leave Kostiantynivka, in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on Feb. 24, 2022
AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

“The situation is one of despair. I ask you to disclose this video so that it reaches the [Brazilian] government,” Shakhtar striker Junior Moraes said.

One of the women in the group said they felt “abandoned” and feared there would soon be no more “food to eat.”


Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with the Post’s live coverage.


“We are asking for help on behalf of our children,” said the unidentified woman, sitting on a couch with the players standing behind them. 

“We are not involved in this conflict, it doesn’t have anything to do with us,” she said.

A view of a damaged car in the aftermath of Russian shelling
Russia hit cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling.
AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka
ukraine explosions
The Ukrainian league was suspended indefinitely after martial law was declared in the nation.
Inhabitants of Kyiv leave the city following pre-offensive missile strikes of the Russian armed forces
Inhabitants of Kyiv leave the city following pre-offensive missile strikes by the Russian armed forces.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Similar video pleas were made by other players stuck in Ukraine, including a trio of Brazilians who play for Zorya Luhansk, a club based in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia.

The team’s striker, Guilherme Smith, said they needed help from a “very difficult situation.”

An unidentified woman with the group — sitting with a young child — complained that they were “without any kind of news here.”

Marlon Santos da Silva of FC Shakhtar Donetsk  in action during the  Uefa Champions League Group D  match between FC Internazionale and FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
Marlon Santos is one of 13 Brazilians who play for Kyiv-based FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images
Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian forward Fernando Dos Santos Pedro celebrates
At least 10 South American stars begged for aid.
GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

“The information we have is that we should remain calm, and I can’t stay calm during this situation. … We are trying not to panic but it’s difficult,” she said, admitting they were already “beginning to lose hope.”

Pleas were also made by a trio of players for FC Metalist in Kharkiv, one of the many Ukrainian cities under attack by Russian troops Thursday.

Ukraine has been a steppingstone for several Brazilian players on their way to top European clubs. They have included former Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa, ex-Chelsea star Willian and Manchester City stalwart Fernandinho.

People try to get onto buses to leave Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
People try to get onto buses to leave Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
People waiting for a Kyiv bound train walk to a platform in Kramatorsk, the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022
Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday.
AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

The Ukrainian league was suspended indefinitely Thursday after martial law was declared in Ukraine.

Brazil’s embassy in Kyiv said in a statement it remained open and would work to ensure “the protection of the roughly 500 Brazilian citizens” in Ukraine, asking them to maintain daily contact.

The appeals came as sources told the Associated Press that the Union of European Football Associations would no longer host the Champions League final in St. Petersburg after Russia’s invasion.

With Post wires



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