Pelé, centre, has urged Vladimir Putin, left, to stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine ©Getty Images

Pelé has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his invasion of Ukraine which has resulted in at least 4,169 civilian deaths while 6.9 million people have been forced to flee the country.

The former Brazilian football icon took to social media on the same day that Ukraine's national football team beat Scotland 3-1 in a playoff that took it a step closer to the FIFA World Cup later this year.

"Today Ukraine tries to forget, at least for 90 minutes, the tragedy that engulfs their country," said the three-time World Cup winner.

"To compete for a place in the World Cup is already a difficult task - almost an impossible one with so many lives at stake.

"I want to use today's match as an opportunity to make a request: stop the invasion.

"There’s absolutely no justification for this continued violence.

"This conflict is wicked, unjustifiable and brings nothing but pain, fear, terror and anguish.

"There's no reason for it to last any longer.

"When we met in the past and exchanged smiles accompanied by a long handshake, I never thought one day we would be as divided as we are now.

"Wars only exist to separate nations, and there's no ideology that justifies projectile missiles burying the dreams of ruining families and killing the innocent.

"I've lived through eight decades, in which I've seen wars and have seen and heard the hate speech, promoting atrocities in the name of their nation's security by spineless leaders.

"We must stop this and evolve.

"A long time ago I promised myself that I would always raise my voice for peace.

"The power to stop this conflict is on your hands.

"The same ones I shook in Moscow at our last meeting in 2017."

Pelé and Putin last met in Moscow in 2017 during the Confederations Cup, a championship held before the World Cup.

The Russian leader has named Pelé as one of his favourite players.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the team for "two hours of happiness" following their victory which leaves them needing to beat Wales on June 5 for a place in the final tournament.