Russian tennis player condemns ‘political’ Ukraine invasion

The act of speaking out against Vladimir Putin as a Russian comes with immense danger and risk.

Thousands of protestors who are against the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine have been apprehended all across the nation, with some being forcibly dragged into vans by police officers equipped with riot gear. Even before the war, numerous journalists faced brutal assaults or lost their lives over the course of several years.

Therefore, when Russian tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova took a stand against the invasion’s “political motives” on Monday, her words carried far more consequences than a typical social media rebuke.

‘I am consumed by fear’

“Violence cannot be justified by personal ambitions or political motives,” Pavlyuchenkova expressed on Twitter. “This not only jeopardizes our future, but also that of our children. I feel lost and don’t know how to contribute in this situation.

“I’m simply an athlete who plays tennis. I am not a politician or a public figure, and I possess no experience in these matters. All I can do is openly speak against these decisions and raise awareness.

“Put an end to the violence, end the war.”

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 6, 2021 Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova during her fourth round match against Belarus' Victoria Azarenka REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Russian tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vehemently opposes the war in Ukraine. (Reuters/Sarah Meyssonnier)

Pavlyuchenkova holds the top ranking among Russian female tennis players and is currently positioned asthe 14th best player in the world. She is not the first Russian to voice their opinion since the invasion began last Thursday, which has led to the displacement of over 400,000 Ukrainians and the loss of at least 102 civilian lives as of Monday, depending on different sources.

Another Russian tennis player, Andrey Rublev, expressed his protest by simply writing the message “No war please” on a TV camera lens following a match in Dubai at the start of the Russian invasion last week.

Daniil Medvedev, a Russian tennis player who emerged as the world’s No. 1 player after winning the US Open last fall, echoed Rublev’s sentiments on Thursday by emphasizing the need for “peace worldwide.” However, neither Rublev nor Medvedev conveyed their opposition as strongly as Pavlyuchenkova did, as she almost explicitly called out Putin with her condemnation of “personal ambitions” and “political motives.”

The invasion has now entered its fifth day on Monday, with Ukrainian resistance persistently combating Russian soldiers to prevent them from capturing the capital city of Kyiv.


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