Lifestyle / Sports / U.S. News

Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin voices support for Vladimir Putin

FILE – In this May 29, 2012, file photo, Russian national ice hockey team member Alexander Ovechkin, right, holds a certficate of recognition given to him by President Vladimir Putin, left, in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has voiced his support for Vladimir Putin ahead of the upcoming Russian presidential elections. Ovechkin posted a message in Russian on his Instagram account Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, announcing he’s starting “a social movement called Putin Team.” From right in the background are Russian ice hockey federation president Vladislav Tretyak and Russia’s captain Ilya Nikulin. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has voiced his support for Vladimir Putin ahead of the Russian presidential election.

Ovechkin posted a message in Russian on his Instagram account Thursday announcing he’s starting “a social movement called Putin Team.” Ovechkin says he has never hidden his feelings about Putin and has “always supported him openly.”

The Russian presidential election is scheduled for March 18.

Ovechkin is from Moscow and has often been photographed with Putin. A photograph of Ovechkin and Putin accompanied the post, in which the longtime NHL star says, “Being part of this team makes me proud and it’s similar to the feeling you get when you put on a Russian national team jersey, knowing that the whole country is rooting for you.”

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Sports Writer James Ellingworth in Moscow contributed.

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