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Ukraine Paralympic Chief Says Will Quit Games if Russia Invades

 / Updated  / Source: Reuters

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Ukraine's Paralympic chief said his team would quit the Winter Paralympic Games if Russia invaded his home country, and that he hoped the competition would be able to spread peace instead.

"If there is an escalation of the conflict, intervention on the territory of our country, God forbid the worst, we would not be able to stay here, we would go," Valeriy Sushkevich told a news conference on Friday.

Russia is holding the Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi at a time when it is being criticizes for its actions in Ukraine's southern region of Crimea, where the West blames Russia for seizing military and government institutions.

Moscow says the armed men in Crimea are members of local "self-defense" units. While Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has the right to send in troops to defend Russian compatriots there but that so far he sees no need to do so.

Many countries have cancelled plans to send government ministers and members of royal families to the Games because of events in Crimea, where the parliament has voted to join Russia and hold a referendum on its status on March 16.

- Reuters

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