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Russia, Belarus Banned from International Ice Skating Events After Ukraine Invasion

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMarch 1, 2022

Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

The International Skating Union has barred Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in international competition amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"The ISU Council reiterates its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine and our thoughts are with the entire Ukrainian people and country. The ISU Council reaffirms its full solidarity with the ISU Members in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Speed Skating Federation and the Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation," the ISU said in a statement.

The organization says it plans to "evaluate possibilities for swift humanitarian assistance to its Ukrainian ISU Members."

Russia President Vladimir Putin ordered a military attack on Ukraine last Thursday in what's been called the largest military action in Europe since World War II. The move has been widely condemned worldwide, with the United States and its allies placing heavy sanctions on Russia and other European countries stepping in to help Ukraine.

Belarus joined the fight in Ukraine in support of Russia on Tuesday, becoming its first major ally.

The fallout has made several ripples in the sporting world. Boxing legends Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko will fight for Ukraine, and multiple international sport governing bodies have banned Russian athletes.

FIFA announced a ban of Russia and expelled the country from World Cup qualifying, and the International Olympic Committee released a statement suggesting the ban of athletes from Belarus and Russia on Monday.

"The current war in Ukraine, however, puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma," the IOC said in the statement. "While athletes from Russia and Belarus would be able to continue to participate in sports events, many athletes from Ukraine are prevented from doing so because of the attack on their country."

Skating is one of the most popular sports in Russia. Russian athletes won six medals in figure skating and another pair in speedskating at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

No timetable has been given for the length of the ban. The World Figure Skating Championships are set to take place March 21-27. 

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