Ukrainian athletes call for peace with banner at Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing

ZHANGJIAKOU, China — Ukrainian athletes and officials issued a call for peace at the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing on Thursday, unfurling a banner, observing a minute’s silence and calling for an end to the war sparked by the invasion of their country by Russia.

Led by National Paralympic Committee Chairman Valerii Sushkevych, the entire 20-member delegation waved a message of “peace for all,” accompanied by raised fists.

“This minute is about the thousands of people, including children and other disabled people, who have returned to Ukraine,” Sushkevych said. “If humanity is civilized, then this war must be stopped. People, women and children deserve to live, not to die.

A member of the Ukrainian team cries during a minute’s silence at the Zhangjiakou Athletes’ Village.
Members of the Ukrainian team hold a banner which reads
Members of the Ukrainian team hold a banner reading “Peace for All” in the Athletes’ Village on day six of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
Alex Davidson/Getty Images for the International Paralympic Committee

Head coach Andriy Nesterenko said many towns had been destroyed and added that seven members of the team were from Kharkiv, which was besieged by Russian forces.

“The Russians have bombed many hospitals and schools…we need your support today, not later. People attacking civilian areas cannot be human… we kindly ask for safe skies over Ukraine.

Russia describes its action in Ukraine as a “special operation” and denies having fired on civilians.

get latest updates in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict with the Post’s live coverage.

Ukraine thrived at the Paralympics despite nearly failing to make it to the Chinese capital due to war, winning six gold medals to sit third in the standings behind hosts China and Canada.

Teams from Russia and Belarus, which have been a key staging area for Russian forces, were not allowed to participate.

New York Post

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