Kuleba calls on Wimbledon organizers to ban Russian, Belarusian players

Kuleba calls on Wimbledon organizers to ban Russian, Belarusian players

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has criticized the decision by the 2023 Wimbledon organizers to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete in the tennis tournament.

In a column for the UK's Daily Express, the minister called on the British authorities to refuse visas to Russian and Belarusian tennis players, according to Ukrinform.

"Tennis is said to be a gentleman's game. Not a game for murderers, rapists or looters. Last year Wimbledon took the difficult but noble decision to bar competitors from Russia and Belarus. Having athletes from there would have been an awful thing in the midst of a year of killing, rape, and looting," Kuleba wrote.

"What has changed since? Not much, aside from the fact that thousands more Ukrainians have died, Russia has tried to eliminate the Ukrainian nation as a whole by freezing it to death and Putin dug in his heels even deeper. There is no turning back for him. Putin needs to maintain the morale of his people; if he cannot do so on the battlefield then sporting success becomes hugely significant," he added.

Kuleba said that within the last year, Russia has not taken a single action, said a single word or demonstrated any remorse or change.

"Because the reality on the ground is still war, it makes little to no sense for Wimbledon to change the noble choice to an opportunistic one. Representatives of nations that commit atrocities against their peaceful neighbors should have nothing to gain at Wimbledon," he wrote.

This year the Wimbledon tennis tournament will be held on July 3-16.

Photo: ukrinform.ua

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