Mar 10, 2022 - Sports

Ukrainian athletes call for peace at Paralympic Games in China

Ukraine Paralympic Committee holding a Peace for All sign with raised fists underneath

The Ukrainian Paralympic team. Photo: Alex Davidson/Getty Images for International Paralympic Committee

Ukrainian athletes and officials on Thursday called for peace during a protest at the athletes village of the Winter Paralympic Games in China.

Driving the news: Several international sports organizations, including the International Paralympic Committee have boycotted Russia over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

  • Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned from competing at this year's Games.

Details: The group of Ukrainian athletes held up a fist in a video with a "Peace for All" sign behind them at the athletes village.

  • The demonstration was led by Valerii Sushkevych, the Ukraine Paralympic committee president, the New York Times reports. Coaches, staff and all 20 athletes were present.
  • "The demonstration was an unusual departure for the Paralympics, which attempts to invoke neutrality and not weigh in specifically on international politics," the Times notes.

What they're saying: "Some of [these athletes don't] have the possibility to come back. Their flats, their private houses are already destroyed," Andriy Nesterenko, the head coach of the delegation, said at the demonstration on Thursday, per NYT.

  • "We kindly ask the people all over the world, we need your support immediately. We need your support today, not later,” Nesterenko added, per NYT.

The big picture: Ukraine is currently second in the medal count with 19 medals, including 6 golds at this year's Games.

Go deeper: "Strong spirit": Ukrainian athletes show resolve after Russian invasion

Go deeper