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Putin slams decision to bar athletes from 2022 Paralympics as ‘utmost cynicism’

The damage was inflicted on the Paralympians, who are the ones to never break down, the Russian President said

NOVO-OGARYOVO, March 18. /TASS/. Barring athletes of Russia and Belarus from their participation in the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing was ‘the utmost cynicism,’ Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

"It was an apex of cynicism to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from the [2022 Winter] Paralympic Games in Beijing," Putin said speaking at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games ‘We Are Together. Sports’ in Russia’s Khanty-Mansiisk.

"The damage was inflicted not only on innocent athletes, but on our Paralympians, who are the ones to never break down, overcoming all of the most difficult obstacles in their lives to win the global support and admiration, inspiring the millions of people to believe in what they are able of achieving."

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko said last week that Paralympic Games ‘We Are Together. Sports’ in the Russian city of Khanty-Mansiisk would be held between March 18 and 21.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced a decision on March 4 to ban athletes from Russia and Belarus from their participation in the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games, which kicked off later that day in China’s Beijing. The 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in the Chinese capital of Beijing were held between March 4 and 13. The IPC cited Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine as a reason for its decision.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Chernyshenko, who oversees issues of sports, culture and tourism in the Russian government, announced on March 5 that he tasked the Russian Sports Ministry and the Finance Ministry to start working jointly with the government of Yugra, located in the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Area, on the organization of the Paralympic Games ‘We Are Together. Sports.’

Sergey Artamonov, the head of the physical culture and sports of Yugra, said last week that up to 70 athletes would take part in six sports competitions - cross-country skiing, biathlon, curling, snowboarding, alpine skiing, sledge ice hockey. The competitions would be held under the Russian state flag and to the tune of the national anthem, the head of the physical culture and sports of Yugra added.

The Paralympic tournament in Russia is attended by Paralympic athletes representing Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Armenia and Kazakhstan.