U.S. won’t send official delegation to Paralympics in Russia

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WASHINGTON — The White House says the United States has decided not to send a presidential delegation to the Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

The move is in retaliation for Russia’s military advances in Ukraine.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says President Barack Obama still supports the U.S. athletes participating and wishes them success.

The U.S. and its allies are weighing sanctions and other potential consequences to persuade Russia to reverse course in Ukraine. Britain has also decided not to send ministers to the Paralympic Games, which start Friday.

“Today we were advised of the decision to not send a Presidential delegation to the Paralympic Games,” U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement. “As a sports organization, we will continue to fully support the amazing men and women that comprise Team USA at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, and we encourage all Americans to support our athletes by watching them compete on NBC, NBCSN and on TeamUSA.org.”

Vice President Joe Biden spoke Monday to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The White House says Biden urged Russia to pull back its forces and made clear that Russia races increasing political and economic isolation is the situation isn’t resolved.

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