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Ovechkin’s father says no pressure on Alex in his NHL club after anti-fascist pic

September 11, 2014, 19:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW
In an interview with sports website earlier this week, Alex Ovechkin said there was no political context in his picture and he only meant his disagreement with the war
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MOSCOW, September 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian ice hockey star Alexander Ovechkin is in the United States gearing up for the pre-season training camp with his NHL Washington Capitals and there is no pressure on him in the club whatsoever regarding his anti-fascism picture recently posted on Instagram, his father Mikhail Ovechkin told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

In August the captain of the NHL Washington Capitals and of the Russian national team, posted a picture of himself wearing a “No War” T-shirt and holding a sign that read “#Save our Children from Fascism.”

It was interpreted by some media in the West as Ovechkin’s support for Russia’s alleged involvement in Ukraine’s ongoing bloody conflict and some reports even suggested that the 28-year-old ice hockey star, who spent this summer in Russia, would face some pressure from his US club and fans and still remained in Russia.

“This is all rubbish,” Mikhail Ovechkin said. “Sasha has been in the United States for five days already and he is at his house in Washington. As usually he prepares for the new [NHL] season and for the beginning of his club’s training camp.”

Commenting on his personal, his son’s and the whole family’s reaction to media reports on the anti-fascist picture, Mikhail said “Neither we, nor Sasha are paying any attention to it.”

“He is a fine fellow and did everything right,” Mikhail, who earlier in the year underwent heart surgery while his son competed at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, added.

In an interview with sports website earlier this week, Alex Ovechkin said there was no political context in his picture and he only meant his disagreement with the war.

"I don't try to make a statement," quoted Ovechkin as saying. "Right now, as a Russian, I have lots of friends from Ukraine. I just don't want a war. Nobody wants a war. Especially when people are so close. It's hard to see especially when you live so close to Ukraine. It's hard and it's dangerous. People die."

According to the sports website, Ovechkin was closely following the developments in Russia’s neighboring former Soviet republic while he was in Russia this summer.

"We watch the news all the time," Ovechkin said. "It's hard. I have lots of friends up there. The people who live there, they don't want war. They just want to have a good life like all of us."

Fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics left thousands killed, inflicted massive destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s southeast.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said on Monday that according to latest UN estimations at least 3,000 people were killed since the conflict erupted in mid-April.

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