Biathlete Mykailo Tkachenko wasn’t just representing all 23 members of the Ukrainian Paralympic team — he was representing the former Soviet states who feel the ever increasing pressure from imminent Russian incursion and annexation. The Ukrainian Paralympic President has stated his country’s intention to participate in the Sochi-based event, with a caveat should the Russian presence in Crimea escalate to something more serious.
[The Guardian] Valeriy Suskevich said at a news conference: “We are staying at the Paralympic Games.” Suskevich warned, though, that any escalation of military conflict would result in the team leaving Sochi.
“I declare should this happen we will leave the Games,” he added. “We cannot possibly stay here in this case.”
Crowds reportedly reacted very strongly in favor of the sole Ukrainian flag bearer, who was alone at the Sochi opening ceremony. Also, a huge boat was in attendance…
UPDATE: A Ukrainian military base is “under seige” by Russian forces in Crimea. Great.
[AP] A Ukrainian news agency says a military base in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol is under siege by Russians. No shots have been fired.
The report, citing a duty officer and Ukraine’s defense ministry, said a Russian military truck broke down the gates and entered the base, where about 100 Ukrainian troops are stationed.
Not sure if this qualifies as grounds to boycott the Paralmypics, but it’s gotta be close. So far no word on whether Ukraine has decided to pull out of the games.
Photos via Getty