The International Olympic Committee on Thursday denounced Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine and said the country has violated the Olympic Truce.
The IOC released a statement that “strongly condemns” Russia for invading Ukraine during the truce, which ends March 20.
“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) strongly condemns the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government,” the statement reads. “The Olympic Truce began seven days before the start of the Olympic Games, on [Feb. 4, 2022], and ends seven days after the closing of the Paralympic Games.”
The truce, an Olympic tradition that started in 1992, was agreed upon by all 193 members of the United Nations in December. The violation is Russia’s third in the last 14 years. During the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Russia fought a war with Georgia over the South Ossetia territory. Six years later, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula shortly after the end of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“Observe your commitment to this Olympic Truce,” IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement. “Give peace a chance.”
The International Paralympic Committee also released a statement, calling the invasion a “horrible situation.”
“Our top priority right now is the safety and well-being of the Ukrainian delegation, with whom we are in regular dialogue,” IPC president Andrew Parsons said in a statement. “One key aspect of the Truce is ensuring the safe passage, access and participation of athletes, officials and all accredited persons taking part in the Games.”
Parsons added that he spoke with the president of Ukraine’s Paralympic Committee, who told Parsons that getting Ukrainian athletes to China for the Games will be a “mammoth challenge.”
The Paralympics will be held in China from March 4 through March 13.
“We need to find a solution for this as soon as possible so that the Ukrainian delegation can travel to and from the Games safely,” Parsons said. “World leaders must observe their commitment to the Olympic Truce, in particular those Member States who are a co-sponsor of the resolution.”