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Footballers ‘shun offer from Brazilian foreign ministry’ to leave Kiev

The group decided not to take a train from Kiev’s Central Station over security fears

A group of Brazilian football players who made an emotional appeal to their country’s government to be rescued from Ukraine are still in the country after failing to take a suggested train to the Romanian border on Friday night.

According to Shakhtar Donetsk star Marlon Santos, who confirmed the development via an Instagram stories post at around two in the morning local time, the group decided not to take the transport offered to them by Itamaraty – Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – over security fears amid the Russian invasion of Ukraien.

“We’re still in the bunker at the Hotel Opera in Kiev,” confirmed the central defender. “We didn’t try to get the train organized by the Brazilian Embassy. It would have been high-risk for all of us.”


The train had Chernivtsi in the west of the country as its final destination. The group of Shakhtar and Dynamo Kiev players and their families could have crossed the border to Romania from there, according to UOL.

“We were told about the train at the last minute and without any security strategy,” explained football agent Augusto Nogueira, representing 18-year-old Shakhtar right back Vinicius Tobias – who joined the club from Internacional in the south of Brazil at the end of January – to the Brazilian media outlet.


“It was not feasible to go out and for everyone to move around. Even more so at that time. We are still here.

“We have children [here], from babies of three to four months [old] to six and seven [years of age],” Nogueira added of a group he said is made up of around 50 Brazilians taking shelter in the bunker at the Hotel Opera. 

“There isn’t [even] a minimum of security to go out in the street. We can hear the sound of bombs here in the hotel,” he claimed, as food and water supplies have already started to run out at the accommodation.

“The situation is critical and we are very worried. We don’t intend to leave without the minimum of security. We believe that the Brazilian government will find a way to get us out of here.”

The group can only make contact with a Brazilian diplomat representing them via a website or on Telegram. They are said to have been advised via the messaging service at around 9pm on Friday of the train leaving Central Station in an hour’s time.


“[There’s] only us and God,” the agent lamented. Aside from his client Vinicius Tobias, who turned 18 on the eve Russian invasion of Ukraine, other members of the group include ex-Ajax winger David Neres, who also joined Shakhtar in the recent January transfer window, and former Brazil under-23 interaional Pedrinho. 

The group made headlines earlier this week when some of the players posted a heartfelt plea to their social media accounts requesting help to leave Ukraine.

“We are really desperate. We are going through chaos,” wrote Marlon to caption the clip. “We have the support from our club. But the desperation is agonizing. We wait for the support from our country. We speak in the name of all the Brazilians in Ukraine.”

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But whereas most members of the group should be allowed to leave Ukraine if they can find safe means of transport, one of their number who appeared in the video – Shakhtar striker Junior Moraes – might encounter difficulties.

“The situation is one of despair. I ask you to disclose this video so that it reaches the government,” the two-time Ukrainian Premier League (UKPL) top scorer wrote in his own caption. 

“Borders are closed, banks, there is no fuel – there will be a shortage of food, there is no money. We are gathered waiting for a plan to leave Ukraine.”

Moraes could be required to report for military duty because he took Ukrainian citizenship in 2019, going on to represent the national team 11 times and score his first goal for the country in 2021.


Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has banned male citizens from 18 to 60 years of age from leaving the country as part of a full military mobilization plan lasting 90 days.

That means Moraes could be left behind if the players manage to leave Ukraine.

The UKPL has been called off for at least a month in a move announced by organizers earlier this week.

https://ift.tt/KAblr2E 26, 2022 at 05:12PM
from RT – Daily news


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