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Kremlin: Politics Must Not Affect Paralympic Games

  • VOA News

Ukrainian paralympic athlete Grygorii Vovchinskyi shows his credential as President of the National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine Valeriy Sushkevich puts his hands to his face during a press conference in Sochi, March 7, 2014.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told Ukraine's paralympic chief that politics and international affairs must not affect sports events such as the Paralympic Games that begin in the Russian city of Sochi on Friday, the Interfax news agency reported.

Putin and the president of Ukraine's National Paralympic Committee Valeriy Sushkevich discussed "the fact that a sports celebration - all the more so one like the Paralympic Games - cannot and must not be under the influence of ... the international agenda or politics,'' Interfax quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

Earlier Friday Sushkevich said Ukraine would withdraw from the Paralympic Games in Sochi if Russia escalates the military conflict in Crimea.

He told reporters at a news conference Friday that for now, Ukraine will take part in the games despite Russia's military moves in Crimea.

Sushkevich said he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday and asked him for peace during the games. He said Putin made no promises but added it was important that the president listened.

The Paralympic Games for disabled athletes open Friday in Sochi, site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games last month.

Several countries have decided not to send officials to the event to protest Russia's actions in Ukraine.

The White House announced on Monday that it had cancelled the U.S. presidential delegation to the Games, however U.S. athletes will participate.

British Prime Minister David Cameron made a similar announcement about his nation's delegation on Sunday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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