Ukraine’s Flag Bearer Greeted By Roaring Crowd At Paralympic Games in Russia

Mar 7, 2014 1:21pm
GTY ukraine paralympics flag bearer jef 140307 16x9 608 Ukraines Flag Bearer Greeted By Roaring Crowd At Paralympic Games in Russia

(Image Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Ukraine has 23 athletes participating in the Paralympics, but only the flag bearer showed up to participate in the opening ceremony today in Sochi, Russia, where president Vladimir Putin was in attendance.

 Biathlete Mykhaylo Tkachenko was met with roaring applause from the crowd, but  remained stoic as he participated in the parade of nations.

Ukraine’s decision to send just their flag bearer to the ceremony was an apparent protest of Russia’s decision to send troops to Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Ukrainian Paralympic Committee President Valeriy Suskevich said earlier this week his team would not boycott the games unless the situation between the two countries escalated.

“We are raising our flag for peace,” Suskevich told the BBC“The athletes have a right to have the Paralympic Games under peaceful conditions.

Read More: What’s Going on in Ukraine? An Up-to-Date Guide

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