Home Travel & Adventure Spain Grants Visas to Neutral Athletes Amid Accusations of Supporting Russia’s Ukraine...

Spain Grants Visas to Neutral Athletes Amid Accusations of Supporting Russia’s Ukraine Invasion: Controversy Erupts


Two athletes from Russia and Belarus managed to qualify for the Paris Olympics this summer at a match in Germany despite not being granted visas by German authorities to enter the country.

The trampolinists in question, Iana Lebedeva and Ivan Litvinovich have been accused by Ukrainian officials of supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

However, according to DW, Spain granted visas to these athletes instead, thus allowing them temporary access to Germany.

Before the World Cup event, the German interior ministry told DW they had not issued visas to Lebedeva and Litvinovich.

Last year, when some authorities eased restrictions on Russians and Belarussians from international sport, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser proposed that by stopping visa issuance, countries could use their own authority to deny such athletes from attending important events.

According to local knowledge, the athletes have Schengen visas issued by other member states. This entitles you to enter and stay in the entire Schengen area.

A spokesperson for the German Interior Ministry

He further explained that according to the European Union’s visa rules, short-stay visas typically do not need approval from other EU countries.

Ukraine Officials Condemn Participation of Russian & Belarusian Athletes

Ukrainian sports representatives condemn the athletes in question for supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine, which would breach neutrality rules set by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), the event’s governing body. Henceforth, they oppose the participation of the pair.

They also mentioned the news that Svitlana Malkova, a member of Ukraine’s trampoline team, lost her mother in a Russian missile strike on Mykolaiv on the eve of the competition.

Under such circumstances, Svitlana Malkova has to go on the same field of play as athletes who support the war and, in fact, support the murder of her mother.

A joint statement from Vadym Guttsait, the president of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee, and Matviy Bidnyi, Ukraine’s acting sports minister

Regarding this situation, Regina Brailova, Malkova’s coach, said the whole team was shocked.

Svitlana was hysterical. Trampolining is a very dangerous sport if you are in a bad psychological state. Because of this situation, it was very difficult for all Ukrainian girls to compete

Regina Brailova, Malkova’s coach

Ukraine sports officials also wrote an open letter to the FIG and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), with examples of how they said the athletes expressed support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Furthermore, sports representatives from Ukraine requested the German Gymnastics Federation (DTB) to intervene. Among other things, the DTB expressed its support for Ukraine.

However, the IOC will decide which athletes are eligible for Paris. Recently a three-person panel was formed, and it will decide the eligibility of all qualified neutral athletes.

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