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Ukraine Paralympians cover medals during Russian anthem

Mar 15, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT

Ukraine AP

Ukraine’s silver medal-winning cross-country relay team covered their medals with their hands during the Russian national anthem in an awards ceremony at the Paralympics in Sochi on Saturday.

Russian forces have been in the Ukraine region of Crimea since late last month. Here’s NBC News’ coverage of the Crimea situation.

“It is a silent protest, fighting for peace for everyone … because the situation in Ukraine didn’t change,” said Ukraine team official Nataliya Harach, according to The Associated Press. “It is not a political protest … we don’t want any disqualifications.”

Russia won the gold medal in the 4×2.5km cross-country relay, so its anthem was played during the podium ceremony Saturday. Ukraine won silver ahead of France.

Ukraine made news at the Opening Ceremony on March 7, when only one of its athletes marched at Fisht Stadium, its flag bearer. The Paralympics finish Sunday.

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  1. vacommenter2014 - Mar 15, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    I realize how important the 2014 Paralympics are and am very proud of our athletes. On the other hand, I am concerned about safety and ethical issues related to attending an event in Russia which has invaded the Crimea and basically is holding its citizens hostage. Why is the invasion of Crimea being handled differently than the invasion of Afghanistan which led to the 1980 boycott? Frankly, I hope our people get out of Sochi as quickly as possible and return home safely.

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