As a former soldier and member of an elite unit of the British Royal Navy, Nirmal Purja knows the dangers of war. The Nepalese climber has friends on both sides, as he recently wrote in his Instagram post: "I have friends in Ukraine, and I visited Russia on many occasions when I was climbing and guiding on Mount Elbrus. My thoughts are with everyone involved in this conflict - I hope peace prevails and this conflict can end quickly." And sends his appeal to the world: "HOPE - We all should never give up on peace and love."
"They really need our support now." With these words, Adam Ondra asks for help all over the world. The successful sport climber is a native of the Czech Republic, and lets us look deep into his heart. He had always thought that he lived in a country where all the wars in the world were far away or a thing of the past. And yet, "Unfortunately, war rages not far from the Czech borders and even closer to the Slovak borders." The 29-year-old is therefore calling for support for people in need, asking for donations to an organization (@clovek_v_tisni) that he says can quickly help the war-torn Ukrainian population.
Former biathlete and cross-country skier Miriam Neureuther finds clear words about the war in Ukraine on Instagram: "They lose everything just because ONE man thinks he has to go crazy. And further: "Simply unbelievable what is happening right now! It tears your heart apart." The mother of two and wife of Felix Neureuther can certainly understand how much women, children and men suffer. She hopes so much that "this madness will end very soon, and a good one for all the people who are having such a hard time right now" and adds the hashtag #weprayforukraine.
As a player, Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko was one of the best strikers of his time. He now works as a coach. After leading Ukraine to the European Championship last year, Shevchenko most recently worked for Italian club CFC Genoa.
Shevchenko now addressed his old Italian fans in a video message at his former club AC Milan. There, he calls on fans in Italian to make a sign for peace. "Ukraine wants only peace, because peace is boundless. What unites us is stronger than what divides us. Let's stop this war together!"
In the days before, Shevchenko had already called for peace on his social media profiles. In London, he also went to demonstrate for peace.
Russian Daniil Medvedev is number one in the world tennis rankings. On his Twitter account posted a statement for peace in English and Russian:"Today I want to speak on behalf of all children in the world. They all have dreams, their lives are just beginning, they still have so many beautiful experiences ahead of them. Therefore, I would like to pray for peace in the world, for peace between countries. Children are born with inner confidence in the world, they believe so much in everything, in people, in love, in security, in justice, in their chances in life. Let's stick together and show them that it's true, because every child should never stop dreaming."
Soccer superstar Robert Lewandowski of FC Bayern Munich appeared in the Bundesliga wearing an armband in the Ukrainian colors. On Twitter, the Pole posted a picture of it with the sentence, "As a sportsman, I can't pretend that nothing happened." Earlier, Lewandowski endorsed the Polish Football Association's decision not to play in the World Cup qualifier against Russia in March.
Russian tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenova also clearly opposed the war. "I have represented Russia all my life. This is my homeland and my country. But now I live in complete fear, as do my friends and family. But I'm not afraid to make my position clear: I am against war and violence," the 30-year-old writes.
"Personal ambitions or political motives cannot justify violence," she said."Pavlyuchenkova continued."This endangers not only our future, but also that of our children. I am confused and do not know how to help in this situation. I am just an athlete who plays tennis. I am not a politician, not a public figure, I have no experience in these matters. I can only publicly disagree with the decisions made and speak openly about them. Stop the violence, stop the war."
Even on the evening of the escalation on February 24, the teams of FC Barcelona and SSC Napoli protested side by side against war before their Europa League duel. The teams held a banner reading "Stop War".
In countless soccer stadiums around the world, players, clubs and fans have protested for peace in a similar way in recent days.
Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev took a stand at the ATP tournament in Dubai. After his semifinal win against Hubert Hurkacz, Rublev wrote with a pen "No war please" ("Please no war") on a filming TV camera.
Earlier, the 24-year-old spoke out for peace at a press conference: "You understand how important it is to have peace in the world and respect each other, no matter what. The most important thing is: we have to take care of the world and each other."
Ukrainian NBA players Alex Len (Sacramento Kings) and Svi Mykhailiuk (Toronto Raptors) released a joint statement on social media against the war in their homeland.
"A great tragedy has struck our dear homeland Ukraine. We condemn the war in the strongest possible terms", Len and Mykhailiuk wrote. "Ukraine is a peaceful, sovereign state inhabited by people who want to determine their own destiny. We pray for our families, friends, relatives and all people who are on the territory of Ukraine. We hope that this terrible war will end as soon as possible. Dear fellow Ukrainians, hang in there! Our strength lies in unity. We are with you!"