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Russian officials respond to claims of ‘athlete units’ for Ukraine operation

Reports in Russia have claimed that athletes could form volunteer units to serve in the conflict

Russian sports officials have said they are not aware of any plans to create “volunteer units” made up of athletes for the military campaign in Ukraine.

Citing two sources “familiar with the situation,” RIA Novosti reported on Monday that Russia could form detachments comprised of volunteer athletes for the operation against Kiev’s forces.

According to the outlet, “a preliminary discussion” on the matter took place in Moscow on Monday.


“It is planned to involve mainly regional sports federations in the mobilization process, they will be notified about this soon,” RIA Novosti added.

“If the trial is recognized as successful and a sufficient number of volunteers are recruited, the involvement of the Moscow [sports] federations is not excluded.”

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But commenting on Tuesday, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said he was not familiar with the claims.


“I do not have such information,” Pozdnyakov replied when asked about the reports.

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin also said he was unaware of any such plans.

“The Sports Ministry does not officially know anything about this, we learned about it from the media,” said Matytsin.

“Everyone has the right to choose, whether it be an athlete, a railway worker or a driver.


“If he is ready to volunteer to defend the country, then praise and honor to him.

“We are not forming detachments of professional athletes, I think that everyone at this moment should do their job as conscientiously as possible,” Matytsin added.

Elsewhere, the head of the ‘SAMBO-70’ sports-education network, Renat Layshev, said he knew of athletes who were willing to sign up for the armed forces.

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“Among the Sambo wrestlers, there are already those who want to volunteer, even among my peers,” he told RIA Novosti.  

“The idea of ​​creating volunteer units is great. Athletes are more disciplined, they quickly adapt to the situation and are very patriotic. I am sure of this.”

However, two-time Olympic champion Dmitry Vasilyev claimed that recruiting units of “figure skaters and biathletes” was not a “serious” idea.

“I prefer professionalism and those who are ready to go to the special military operation with combat experience,” said the 59-year-old former biathlon star.  


Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization on September 21, with the aim of calling up 300,000 reservists for the campaign against Ukraine.

READ MORE: Kremlin comments on possibility of travel ban for Russian men

https://ift.tt/JrY5jnX 12, 2022 at 06:01PM
from RT – Daily news


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