The International Olympic Committee set up an emergency fund of $300,000 to help Ukrainian athletes amid a difficult situation, IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement Wednesday.
“The IOC is following the political, economic and social developments in Ukraine with the greatest attention and growing concern,” Bach said. “Also the situation of Ukrainian athletes, including those who have so successfully represented their country in the recent Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, which has dramatically deteriorated.
“For all these reasons I repeat my appeal of Sochi to all political leaders involved to enter into a summit dialogue in the Olympic spirit of mutual respect and peace.
“To help the Ukrainian athletes – wherever they come from in Ukraine and whatever their background – and to mitigate their difficult situation, the IOC has established an emergency fund of USD 300,000. This fund is to be used for the benefit of the Ukrainian athletes, through the NOC of Ukraine, for training and competition purposes.”
Political tensions between Ukraine and Russia were present before and during the Sochi Paralympics, when Ukraine sent one athlete to the Opening Ceremony (out of its delegation of more than 20) and others covered their medals in silent protest on the podium.
The Ukrainian city of Lviv is bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics.