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Minister: Russia's war has killed over 200 Ukrainian athletes

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 2, 2023 5:37 AM 2 min read
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Russia's war has killed 262 Ukrainian athletes and destroyed 363 sports facilities in Ukraine, Youth and Sports Minister Vadym Gutzeit said during a meeting on April 1 with Morinari Watanabe, president of the International Federation of Gymnastics, and President's Office Head Andriy Yermak.

The Ukrainian government has reportedly decided that Ukrainian athletes must boycott tournaments with Russian or Belarusian participants in the upcoming 2024 Olympics in light of the International Olympics Committee's (IOC) decision allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in international sporting events.

"It is very important for us that there are no athletes from Russia at sports competitions and the Olympic Games, because they all support this war and attend events held in support of this war," Gutzeit said, adding that some Russian athletes wear uniforms with the symbols of this war and have not publicly condemned the killing of Ukrainian sportsmen.

On March 28, the IOC recommended allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in international sporting events while still banning anyone who actively supports Russia's war against Ukraine. According to the body, a final decision has not yet been made, however.

Ukraine has criticized the decision to "clear the path" for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Olympic Games.

Over 30 countries so far have called on the IOC to continue its ban on Russia and Belarus from competing in international sporting events, including the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

According to the IOC's decision, Russian and Belarusian athletes will be able to compete only as individual neutral athletes — teams from these countries will not be allowed. However, both individual and team competitions can be held at the same start, making it unclear how exactly the Ukrainian government's decision to boycott will work.

Ukraine’s sports minister: As Russia kills our athletes, it’s not the time to allow Russians back to international sports
Editor’s Note: This interview was recorded before the International Olympics Committee’s announcement on allowing some Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in Olympic qualification tournaments. Following the executive board meeting on March 28, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) rec…
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