Russia To Lose Championship League Final Amid Invasion Of Ukraine: Report

The Union of European Football Associations reportedly plans to strip Saint Petersburg of its hosting rights for the 2022 Champions League Final following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Thursday (February 24) morning, the Associated Press reports.

The UEFA executive committee plans to hold a meeting Friday (February 25) to discuss the ongoing geopolitical crisis and are reportedly expected to move the final — scheduled for May 28 — out of Russia, a source with knowledge of the discussions confirmed to the AP.

UEFA publicly condemned Russia’s actions and confirmed it was addressing the “situation with the utmost seriousness and urgency” in a statement released on its official website Thursday.

“UEFA shares the international community’s significant concern for the security situation developing in Europe and strongly condemns the ongoing Russian military invasion in Ukraine,” the group said in a statement obtained by the AP. “We remain resolute in our solidarity with the football community in Ukraine and stand ready to extend our hand to the Ukrainian people.”

At least 40 people were confirmed to have been killed and several dozen others were injured during the early casualty tolls following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, ABC News reports.

Okeksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed the totals Thursday (February 24).

NBC News later reported at least four people and at least 10 others injured were killed after a Russian shell struck a hospital located in Vuhledar, located in the Donetsk region Thursday, Ukraine’s interior ministry confirmed on its Telegram channel.

Six doctors were among the at least 10 individuals injured during the attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his country would conduct military operations in Eastern Ukraine during an NBC News translation of a speech addressing the Russian population prior to sunrise early Thursday morning in Moscow.

The announcement appeared to serve as the final action ahead of an attack by Putin and the Russian military, which the U.S. and European allies to the neighboring Ukraine have attempted to prevent from taking place through diplomatic discussions.

A Ukraine interior minister confirmed to NBC News via text message that “cruise and ballistic missile strikes” were already underway shortly after Putin’s announcement.

NBC News correspondent Erin McLaughlin said explosions could be heard from her live shot in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city, at 6:00 a.m. local time. 

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