Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin spoke to the media today following the team’s practice in Philadelphia. Ovechkin answered questions about Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine and whether or not he supports Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Video from the Capitals:
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin media availability after practice in Philadelphia. pic.twitter.com/y2gxFpV3CL
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 25, 2022
Note: The transcript below contains paraphrases of the questions asked.
Question: Do you support Russia’s invasion?
Alex Ovechkin: Um, like, I’m Russian, right? Sometimes something I can’t control. It’s not in my hands. How I say, I hope it’s going to end soon and it’s going to be peace in both countries. I don’t control this one.
Question: Do you support President Putin?
Ovechkin: Well he’s my president. But how I said, I’m not in politics, I’m an athlete. How I said, I hope everything is gonna be done soon. It’s sad situation right now for both sides and, like how I said, everything I hope is gonna be end. And I’m not control this situation.
Question: What goes through your mind with images on TV?
Ovechkin: It’s hard, hard situation. I have family back in Russia and its scary moments but we can’t do anything, we just hope it’s gonna be end soon and everything’s gonna be alright.
Question: How closely did you follow the lead-up, several weeks before and how closely have you followed the last 48 hours?
Ovechkin: How I said my family over there, of course pay attention to what’s happen out there. I don’t want to see nobody get hurt, nobody get killed. How I said, hope it’s gonna be over and we’re gonna be living in a good world.
Question: Will you family stay in Russia?
Ovechkin: It’s hard question because it just happened couple days ago. We will see what’s gonna happen.
Question: We’ve seen other athletes speak out, no more war please...
Ovechkin: Please, no more war. It doesn’t matter who’s in the war, Russia, Ukraine, different countries. I think we live in a world, we have to live in peace, great world.
Ovechkin’s family, including his wife, sons, and parents, are currently in Russia.
Ovechkin’s involvement in Russian politics has been both shallow and sustained. In 2014, Ovechkin posted a photo labeled “Save Children From Fascism” when Russia annexed Crimea. In 2017, Ovechkin participated in a propaganda website called Putin Team (website here), which Kremlin sources said later was not Ovechkin’s creation. Ovechkin has long been friendly with Putin and has said he has Putin’s phone number. When Ovechkin and Nastya Ovechkina wed in 2017, the couple received a wedding gift from Putin.
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