Winter Olympics: Ukrainian skeleton athlete Vladyslav Heraskevych holds up ‘No War’ sign

Vladyslav Heraskevych’s sign was printed on blue and yellow paper, the colours of the Ukrainian flag
Hosts: Beijing, China Dates: 4-20 February
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A Ukrainian athlete displayed an anti-war sign during the men’s skeleton event at the Beijing Winter Games amid increasing tensions on Ukraine’s border with Russia.

Vladyslav Heraskevych briefly held up a sign that read ‘No war in Ukraine’ after his third run on Friday.

Russia has repeatedly denied it plans to invade Ukraine despite massing more than 100,000 troops near the border.

“It’s my position, like any normal person I don’t want war,” he said.

“I want peace in my country and I want peace in the world, so nobody wants it. That’s my position, I fight for that, I fight for peace.

“At home in Ukraine it’s really nervous now, a lot of news about guns, about weapons, about some armies around Ukraine so it’s not OK. Not in the 21st century.”

International Olympic Committee rules forbid athletes from making any form of political statement at the Games, but Heraskevych does not think he will be punished for his gesture.

“I think the Olympics also fight for peace, for united countries, so I hope the Olympics will be with me in this situation, so nobody wants war,” he said.

Although Russia denies it is planning to invade Ukraine it has begun massive military drills with neighbouring Belarus, and Ukraine has accused Russia of blocking its access to the sea.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that Europe faced its biggest security crisis in decades amid the tensions.

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