262 Ukrainian athletes killed in the war, sports minister said
Russia’s war against Ukraine has claimed the lives of 262 Ukrainian athletes and destroyed 363 sports facilities, the country’s sports minister Vadim Hatsait said on Saturday.
Hatsat, meeting visiting President of the International Federation of Gymnastics, Morinari Watanabe, said that no athlete from Russia should be allowed in the Olympics or other sporting events.
“They all support this war and participate in events organized in support of this war,” Hatsat said, according to a transcript on President Volodymyr Zelensky’s website.
The International Olympic Committee has recommended the gradual return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competition as neutrals.
It has not decided on his participation in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Ukraine said on Friday its athletes would not be allowed to compete in qualifying events for the 2024 Games if they had to compete against Russians, a decision the IOC has criticized.
Reuters could not independently confirm the number of Ukrainian athletes killed or how many facilities were destroyed.
Ukraine prepares to retaliate as Russia advances in Bakhmut
In the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, several Ukrainian national-level athletes have voluntarily taken up arms to defend their country.
Among those killed this year are lone figure skater Dmytro Sharper, who died in fighting near Bakhmut, and 22-year-old decathlon champion and future Olympic candidate Volodymyr Androschuk.