Russian military in Portugal tournament sparks Ukrainian protest

January 26,2024 605
Russian military in Portugal tournament sparks Ukrainian protest

The Russian military athletes have been allowed to participate in the international judo tournament Grand Prix Portugal 2024 in Portugal, announced Pavlo Sadokha, UWC Vice-President and President of the Union of Ukrainians in Portugal.

“Despite the official protest from the Ukrainian Embassy in Portugal regarding the participation of Russian athletes who are active military personnel of the Russian armed forces in the Grand Prix Portugal 2024 tournament, the organizers have allowed their participation,” said Sadokha.

The Ukrainian community strongly opposes the organization’s decision and condemns allowing the participation of occupiers. “According to the rules adopted by the EU after extensive aggression, they should not have been allowed to participate in international competitions on EU territory (‘neutral’ Russian athletes are supposed to fill out a declaration that they do not support the war and are not actual military personnel in Russia),” the UWC Vice President explained.

The tournament takes place from January 26 to 28. The Ukrainian Community in Portugal calls on all concerned individuals to join the protest. “Unfortunately, we learned about these ‘athletes’ participation in the tournament very late, too late to organize a peaceful protest. Next week, we will hold a protest outside the Ministry of Sports and Youth of Portugal to prevent such incidents in the future. Today [January 26], we propose that everyone interested come at 17:00 to Pavilhão Multiusos de Odivelas,” said Sadokha.

Protest participants plan to ask the Russians questions, including whether they support Russian aggression.

“The tournament takes place from January 26 to 28 at Pavilhão Multiusos de Odivelas. Address: Alameda do Porto Pinheiro, 2675-668 Odivelas. Also, from January 25 to 27, you can express your position at the Lisbon Marriott Hotel. Address: Av. dos Combatentes 45, 1600-042 Lisboa, where weigh-ins for athletes will be conducted from 16:00 to 16:30. Ask the question: Do you support Russian aggression against Ukraine and whose Crimea?” concluded the UWC Vice President.

After a long break, the new Olympic season began on January 26 in Odivelas, Portugal. The Grand Prix series tournament, featuring over 640 athletes from 92 countries, marks the start of the international competition period.

Cover: Grand Prix Portugal 2024

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