Victorious Ukrainian protest: Portugal blocks Russian military from competitions

February 1,2024 660
Victorious Ukrainian protest: Portugal blocks Russian military from competitions

The Portuguese authorities have pledged not to allow Russian athletes on active military duty to participate in international competitions on the country’s territory. The decision was made following a protest by the Ukrainian community in Lisbon, announced by Pavlo Sadokha, UWC Vice-President and President of the Union of Ukrainians in Portugal.

“Today, the Ukrainian community in Lisbon held a rally outside the Portuguese Cabinet of Ministers, during which they delivered an open letter to the Secretary of the government for youth and sports, urging the exclusion of Russian athletes, who are active military personnel or support aggression against Ukraine, from sports competitions on Portuguese territory,” said Sadokha.

Representatives of the Portuguese government confirmed full support for Ukraine and promised to avoid such incidents in the future, according to Sadokha. “They also discussed Portugal’s position on preventing Russian military personnel from participating in the 2024 Olympic Games in France.”

“Since the large-scale aggression of Russia against Ukraine began, Russians have killed 420 Ukrainian athletes. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of these deaths, Russian military personnel, continue to participate in international competitions. For the Ukrainian community in Portugal, this seemed like a reward for killing Ukrainians. The Portuguese side will be asked again to raise the issue of proper verification and screening of so-called neutral athletes with the International Judo Federation,” the letter addressed.

The Ukrainian community emphasized that on January 27, a Russian army officer, Inal Tasoev, received a gold medal at the competition. The Ukrainian community in Portugal also called on other European countries’ authorities and sports organizations to be more thorough in verifying Russian athletes. Specifically, they urged to require them to sign a declaration of their stance on the war led by Russia in Ukraine.

Earlier, on January 29, the Ukrainian community held another protest against the arrival of Russian athletes. 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, marked the start of the international competition period.

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