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Brazilian footballers trapped in Ukraine appeal for help

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Brazilian footballers from the two biggest Ukrainian clubs have appealed to the Brazilian government, saying they are trapped by the Russian military attack on Ukraine.

A group of Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv players posted a video with their families from a hotel where they appealed for support from Brazilian authorities, joined by Dynamo’s Uruguayan player Carlos de Pena.

They said borders were closed and fuel supplies had run out.

“We are really desperate. We are going through chaos,” Shakhtar defender Marlon Santos wrote on Instagram.

“We have the support of our club. But desperation is agonizing. We expect the support of our country. We speak on behalf of all Brazilians in Ukraine.

Similar messages were posted by Brazilian players living elsewhere in Ukraine, including striker Marlyson and two teammates from Metalist 1925 in the northeastern city of Kharkiv, near the Russian border, and three players from Zorya Luhansk, a club based in the southern city. from Zaporizhia.

The Ukrainian league was suspended indefinitely on Thursday after the declaration of martial law in Ukraine.

Ukrainian clubs have long recruited Brazilian players to boost their performance on the pitch and make a profit on the transfer market.

Promising Brazilian players often see the Ukrainian league as a showcase to show off their skills to clubs in Europe’s top leagues, especially if they play for Champions League regulars Shakhtar and Dynamo.

Shakhtar lists 11 Brazilian players in its first team and another, Junior Moraes, who is a naturalized Ukrainian citizen.

Both Shakhtar and Zorya were founded in towns in eastern Ukraine but have been unable to play there since Russian-backed separatists took control of their hometowns in 2014.