Taekwondo-Putin stripped of black belt over Ukraine invasion

A woman holds a banner depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin as Ukrainians and supporters hold an anti-war protest outside the Russian Embassy, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Mexico City, Mexico February 28, 2022. REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been stripped of his honorary taekwondo black belt over his country's invasion of Ukraine, a personal rebuke heaped on top of international economic and sporting sanctions.

World Taekwondo, citing its motto of "Peace is More Precious than Triumph," condemned the Russian military action in Ukraine, saying the "brutal attacks on innocent lives" violated the sport's values of respect and tolerance.

"In this regard, World Taekwondo has decided to withdraw the honorary 9th dan black belt conferred to Mr. Vladimir Putin in November 2013," the governing body said in a statement.

It added that it would join the International Olympic Committee in banning the Russian flag and anthem at its events.

The decision comes after the International Judo Federation said on Sunday it would suspend Putin's status as honorary president and ambassador "in light of the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine".

Other sporting organization such as FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russian national teams and clubs from competition.

Putin has demonstrated capable technique while appearing in martial arts uniforms, projecting an image of strength as he has in other carefully staged events such as those of him riding bare-chested on a horse or playing ice hockey.

Russian forces bombarded Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, on Monday, drawing new sanctions from the United States and its allies as part of the international isolation of Russia.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour's military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

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