Ukrainian skeleton athlete Vladyslav Heraskevych will face no punishment from the IOC for holding up a sign reading “No War in Ukraine” after completing a run at the Winter Olympics.
There are rising tensions in eastern Europe, with the US warning that Russian troops are in place to invade Ukraine “at any time”.
The potential invasion has seen the US and the UK among the nations urging their citizens to leave Ukraine as soon as possible.
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In a call for peace, Heraskevych held up a homemade printed sign that read “No War in Ukraine” on a blue-and-yellow background, the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
“It’s my position. Like any normal people, I don’t want war,” Heraskevych said, per AP, after he finished his fourth and final run – he displayed the sign after his third run on Friday night.
“I want peace in my country, and I want peace in the world. It’s my position, so I fight for that. I fight for peace.
“In Ukraine, it’s really nervous now. A lot of news about guns, about weapons, what’s to come in Ukraine, about some armies around Ukraine. It’s not okay. Not in the 21st century. So I decided, before the Olympics, that I would show my position to the world.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Heraskevych would face no repercussions for the sign.
The Olympic Charter says there can be “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas”.
However, the IOC deemed that Rule 50 had not been violated.
“This was a general call for peace. For the IOC the matter is closed,” an IOC spokesperson said.
Russia have claimed the West are spreading false information.
On Friday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Russian troops were "in a position to be able to mount a major military action" in Ukraine.
Sullivan added: "We obviously cannot predict the future, we don't know exactly what is going to happen, but the risk is now high enough and the threat is now immediate enough that [leaving] is prudent.”
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