DIn response to the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian government has, among other things, sanctioned more than 80 Russian athletes and representatives of Russian sports. This is reported by the Ukrainian media. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed decrees banning those affected from entering Ukraine for the next 50 years. They are also said to be banned from flying through Ukrainian airspace.
In addition to several Russian Olympic champions, the sanctions list also includes Ksenia Shoigu, daughter of the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. She is President of the Russian Triathlon Federation (RTF).
“The support that people need especially now was and is more important to us than any crazy lists. And the decisions that Kiev is trying to link to sport have nothing to do with that,” RTF said in a statement to the Russian news agency TASS. “Sport should stay out of politics.”
Russian delegation in occupied territories
Last week, Ukraine’s Deputy Sports Minister Matvei Bednyy condemned the visit of a delegation from the Russian Sports Ministry led by Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin to the occupied areas of the Donetsk region: “This shows once again that there is no sport outside of politics ‘ said Bednyy.
According to reports in the Ukrainian media, Matytsin met with Donetsk separatist leader Denis Puschilin during his visit to Mariupol and promised financial support for reconstruction in the region, which is also referred to in Russia as the “new territory”.
Russia is trying to bring normality to the occupation of Ukrainian territories with the help of sport. These include visits by active and former well-known athletes such as the Vice President of the Russian Wrestling Federation and Olympic champion of Sydney 2000, Warter Samurgashev. He is also on Ukraine’s sanctions list.
“I’m proud of it,” Russian boxer Alexei Papin told TASS, referring to the entry ban imposed on him: “Maybe it’s because I’ve been to Donetsk and Lugansk and I support our boys. I will not stop supporting them, my friends and relatives are there. I have friends on the other side too, but we’re on different sides of the barricades.”
It’s not the first time Ukraine has tried to sanction Russian athletes since the Russian invasion began. The penalties are not just limited to Russian citizens. In 2022, the government accused former Ukrainian soccer player Anatoly Tymoshchuk of verbally supporting Russia’s war of aggression. The sanctions against him included the freezing of assets on the territory of Ukraine, restrictions on trade transactions, a ban on entering Ukraine and the deprivation of state awards of Ukraine. Tymoschtschuk played for Bayern Munich, among others. Most recently, he was assistant coach at the Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg.