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How Ukraine’s athletes in Sochi are protesting against Russia’s actions

Ukraine's athletes cover their silver medals with hands after finishing second in cross country 4x2.5km open relay at the 2014 Winter Paralympic, Saturday, March 15, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. The majority of Ukraine's Paralympic medalists covered their medals during medal ceremonies. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky
Silent protest.
By Kevin J. Delaney
CrimeaPublished Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Ahead of the vote in Crimea Sunday on joining Russia, Ukrainian athletes at the Paralympics in Sochi have been silently protesting.

The International Paralympic Committee—like the International Olympic Committee—has forbidden political demonstrations on the medal stands or elsewhere during the events. But the Ukrainian Paralympic athletes—participating in events hosted by Russian president Vladimir Putin—have been covering medals they’re awarded with their hands in quiet protest against the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine’s strategic Crimean Peninsula.

For the Ukrainian athlete, “unfortunately the medal was produced by and is being awarded by the host country who acted as an aggressor toward his country,” Ukraine Paralympic Committee head Valery Sushkevich told Agence France Presse. ”It’s a demonstration that aggression and the high ideals of paralympic sports are incompatible.”

Here’s a look at how Ukraine’s athletes are doing this:

AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky
Ukraine’s Olena Iurkovska covers her bronze medal in the women’s biathlon.
AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky
Ukraine’s silver medal winners in the cross-country 4×2.5km open relay.
AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky
A Russian honor guard soldier salutes after Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova receives her gold medal in the women’s biathlon.

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