Amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin's honorary president status suspended by International Judo Federation

ByABC News
February 27, 2022, 9:49 PM

As the attack on Ukraine entered a fourth day on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin temporarily lost his most senior official position in world sports. The International Judo Federation cited "the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine" for suspending Putin's honorary president status.

The Russian president is a keen judoka and attended the sport at the 2012 London Olympics.

Russia's Sergey Soloveychik, the president of the European Judo Union, abruptly resigned from his post on Sunday, as well. Soloveychik referenced the "heartache that we see the people in brotherly countries die" but backed his country in announcing his decision.

"No one doubts that my heart belongs to judo," he said. "But it is equally true that it belongs to my homeland, Russia. We, judoka, must always be loyal to our principles."

In Putin's other favorite sport, ice hockey, Latvian club Dinamo Riga withdrew Sunday from the Russian-owned and -run Kontinental Hockey League, citing the "military and humanitarian crisis."

Earlier this month, the KHL announced plans to cancel the remainder of the regular season, allowing time to have players participate in the Olympics while also citing coronavirus concerns. The league decided to end the pause in time for the postseason, which is tentatively slated to begin Tuesday.

On Sunday, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced the cancellation of the world junior swim titles that were scheduled for Aug. 23-28 in Kazan, Russia. FINA said it was looking for a replacement host for the event.

"FINA remains extremely concerned with the continuing war in Ukraine and following ongoing consultation with athletes and stakeholders from the aquatics family, FINA can now confirm that the 8th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships and FINA will not be holding any future events in Russia if this grave crisis continues," the FINA statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.