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Brazilian players scramble to flee Ukraine

Three Brazilian footballers who play for Ukrainian Premier League club SK Dnipro-1 have fled the war-torn nation and crossed the border into Romania.

Gabriel Busanello, Bill, and Felipe Pires all posted messages on social media on Saturday, informing family and fans that they were safe.

“We did it, after two days of lots of terror and tension we managed to get out… and we’re on our way home,” Bill, who uses only one name, said on Instagram in a video recorded on the Romanian side of the border.

“We managed it, now we’re fine.”

The 22-year-old left winger, who joined the club from Flamengo only last month, said they had taken a bus to the border with Romania and crossed on foot.

Other Brazilian players were attempting to leave Ukraine by train.

Several players, many of whom play for Shakhtar Donetsk, posted photos of themselves and their families on a train heading out of the country.

One, Marlon Santos, posted a clip on Instagram saying, “We are still praying. The journey still has a way to go. It’s all going to work out.”

They did not say where the train was headed.

The players were among a large group of Brazilians who posted videos on social media earlier this week appealing for help to escape Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.

The Brazilian government had asked some 500 Brazilians in Ukraine to stay in contact with its embassy.

On Saturday, the Brazilian Air Force said it had two KC-390 cargo planes ready to help evacuate Brazilian citizens.

It did not say when the planes would make it to Ukraine to begin an airlift.

“Now we have to help our people still in Ukraine,” Felipe Pires, one of the three who escaped to Romania, wrote.

“They really need our help and support.”

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