Gymnast Ivan Kuliak provoked uproar by wearing the Russian war insignia ‘Z’ on his vest during the Gymnastics World Cup medal ceremony in Doha on Saturday. While sharing a podium with Ukrainian gymnast Illia Kovtun, the athlete showed his open support for Russian aggression.
According to reports, the Russian had the emblem attached to his chest during his act. In Russia, it is a symbol of ‘victory.’ Ironically, he came in third place behind Kovtun, who won gold at the World Cup event. The emblem can also be found on Russian military vehicles to identify them.
Many Russian athletes have gone to great lengths to criticize the war, including tennis player Andrey Rublev, who scribbled “No war please” on a broadcast camera, and footballer Fedor Savchenko
Kulak, on the other hand, isn’t the only one who has publicly expressed support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Svetlana Khorkina, a gold medalist Olympian, made her jingoist stance public on Saturday by uploading an image of the ‘Z’ symbol with the caption: “A campaign for people who are not ashamed to be Russian.” Let’s get the word out.” Many pro-Putin activists, government officials, and internet personalities have been seen wearing ‘Z’ apparel, which includes everything from t-shirts to badges.
Meanwhile, the International Gymnastics Federation has canceled all future events in Russia and Belarus, as well as an indefinite ban on gymnasts from both nations, which will take effect on Monday. Since it invaded Ukraine, Russia has been subjected to a slew of sanctions from nations such as Australia, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.