The truce is signed but not allowed in Beijing 2022. Although the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, has urged political leaders to attend to a truce during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the government of Ukraine asked its athletes not to fraternize with their Russian opponents during the event that will take place from February 4 to 20, as the countries are in a moment of escalating tension due to Western accusations against Moscow of wanting to launch an offensive against their neighbors.
“We held a video conference on patriotism and gave some recommendations on how to behave: don’t stand next to Russian athletes, don’t take photos with them,” Ukraine’s sports minister Vadim Guttsait said in an interview published on Wednesday in the sports portal tribuna.ua.
A separatist conflict has been going on between the nations since 2014, but recently Russia is accused by the West of having concentrated tens of thousands of soldiers on its neighbor’s border in anticipation of a possible invasion, although Moscow denies any warlike intentions.
Guttsait specified that the government of Kiev it can only issue its recommendations to athletes, but not force them to behave in a certain way. He also assured that he fears provocations against Ukrainian athletes.
“It has been eight years of war and the situation continues to escalate at the border, so our athletes really need to control their emotions in such situations.”
While the tension on the Ukraine border continues, in Beijing, the IOC president called for the Olympic Truce to be respected and invited athletes to sign the “Truce Wall”, a monument that has been installed in the Olympic Village. from Turin 2006.
“Today we call on all the political leaders of the world to observe their commitment to this Olympic Truce,” Bach said, adding for the athletes that, although in the coming days they will compete with each other, “at the same time, they will live together in peace.” and respectfully under one roof, in the Olympic Village. In this way, they will show us how the world can be if we all respect the same rules and ourselves”.
Via video conference a week earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin wished his athletes “triumphant performances” before they left for Beijing and rejected the US-led diplomatic boycott.
“Together (Russia and China) we reject the politicization of sport and demonstrative boycotts. We support the traditional Olympic values, above all equality and justice,” Putin said.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have joined forces to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in response to China’s human rights abuses. This will mean that the athletes will participate normally, but there will not be a delegation of officials and politicians accompanying the delegation during the opening and the closing ceremony.
The president of Russian Olympic Committee (COR), Stanislav Pozdniakov, said in an interview for the EFE agency that the Olympic boycott “is nonsense” that will have “no importance” once the Games start on Friday. In addition, he confirmed the presence of Putin at the Olympic event.
As in Beijing, some Western politicians promoted a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. Based on the Russian law against homosexual propaganda, some guests refused to attend the fair, including the president of the United States, however, although the Obama administration did not send top officials, it did send an alternate delegation.
The history of boycotts of the Olympic Games goes back much further. In Moscow 1980, James Carter, then president of the United States, promoted a boycott in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. At that time, the delegation, including the athletes, did not participate in the Olympic competition, a decision that was several countries joined.
The Soviet Union responded to the boycott of 1980 with its own veto of the following Games, Los Angeles 1984. Only 14 countries, bound by the Warsaw Pact and little else, followed it.