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Alex Ovechkin, the Russian star of the Capitals, says, ‘Please, no more war’

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin spoke to reporters on Feb. 25 as Russia, his home country, continued to advance in Ukraine. (Video: Washington Capitals)

PHILADELPHIA — Alex Ovechkin, the Russian star of the Washington Capitals, delivered an antiwar message Friday amid his home country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 36-year-old, who has previously voiced support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he hopes the war will be over soon and there will be “peace in the whole world.”

“Please, no more war,” Ovechkin said during a four-minute session with reporters after Washington’s practice Friday. “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.”

When asked whether he still supports Putin amid the invasion, Ovechkin said, “He is my president,” adding that he was an athlete and not a politician.

“Well, he is my president,” Ovechkin said. “But … I am not in politics. 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.”

Ovechkin’s wife, children and parents were in Moscow. Ovechkin said it was tough to know whether they would remain there, calling it a “hard question” because of how rapidly the situation has unfolded. “We will see what is going to happen,” he said.

“My family [is] over there. Of course I pay attention [to] what’s [happening] out there,” Ovechkin said. “I don’t want to see nobody get hurt, nobody get killed. How I said, I hope it’s going to be over and we’re going to be living in a good world.”

Live updates: Russian forces press closer to Kyiv; more than 50,000 flee Ukraine

Other Russian athletes have recently spoken out amid the invasion. Andrey Rublev, a 24-year-old tennis player, wrote, “No war please,” on a television camera after a win Friday in Dubai, and soccer player Fedor Smolov voiced his opposition in an Instagram post.

“It is scary moments,” Ovechkin said. “But we can’t do anything. We just hope it going to be end soon and everything is going to be all right.”

Reporters asked to speak with Ovechkin, one of a handful of Russian players on the Capitals, on Thursday. He instead spoke Friday, delivering his comments with a serious tone after taking some time to collect his thoughts.

Washington’s next game is Saturday in Philadelphia against the Flyers.

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Ovechkin is one of the NHL’s biggest stars and has long proudly represented his country in international events. He also has long-standing ties to Putin, which have drawn attention through the years.

In 2017, for example, Ovechkin announced that he was organizing a movement to support Putin. His Instagram profile photo is a picture of him with the Russian president.

“Today, I want to announce a social movement in the name of PutinTeam,” Ovechkin wrote on Instagram in 2017. “Be a part of this team — to me it’s a privilege, it’s like the feeling of when you put on the jersey of the Russian team, knowing that the whole country is rooting for you.” Ovechkin ended the post with the hashtag #putinteam.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russia fired at least 85 missiles on at least six major cities in Ukraine on November 15, in one of the most widespread attacks of the war so far. The strikes came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking by video link, presented a 10-point peace plan to G-20 leaders at a summit in Indonesia. As in previous Russian missile attacks, critical civilian infrastructure appeared to be primary targets. Parts of several cities that were hit were left without electrical power on Tuesday afternoon.

Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

Read our full coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

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