MOSCOW, March 3 (R-Sport) – The only Ukrainian team in the Kontinental Hockey League, Donbass Donetsk, has provided safety guarantees to the Russia-based hockey league that play can continue there despite the political unrest.
Safety concerns have grown after deadly rioting in the country led to the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych and heightened tensions with Russia over the future of the Crimean Peninsula.
Donbass has reached the playoffs for the first time in its second season in the KHL.
“We have provided all the documents that it is safe to hold games in Donetsk,” said Boris Kolesnikov, the team's president. “We haven’t spent two years to get into the playoffs just to play home games on the territory of another club," he added.
"We all hope that the KHL will allow us to play at home.”
Last week, the eastern, mainly Russian-speaking city of Donetsk staged a football match between local team Shakhtar and Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic with no incidents reported.
Donbass sits fourth in the Western Conference with one round to go in the regular season and will face Dinamo Riga in the first round of playoffs that start Friday.
Fighting between radical anti-government protesters and police in the capital city of Kiev claimed at least 95 lives, according to the Ukrainian Health Ministry.
The violence in Ukraine is the worst the nation has seen since it gained independence in 1991.