Russian President Vladimir Putin has been suspended from his role as honorary president and ambassador of the International Judo Federation (IJF).
The IJF announced the move on Sunday as Putin pressed forward with his full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.
Putin is an avid supporter of judo and holds a black belt in the martial art, which originates in Japan.
The 69-year-old has previously described the sport as his “favourite” and has also co-authored a book titled 'Judo: History, Theory, Practice'.
However, the sport’s governing body, the IJF, has moved to distance itself from Putin in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.
“In light of the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine, the International Judo Federation announces the suspension of Mr Vladimir Putin’s status as Honorary President and Ambassador of the International Judo Federation,” read an IJF statement.
The IJF has also announced the cancellation of the 2022 Grand Slam, which was due to be held in the Russian city of Kazan from May 20-22.
IJF president Marius Vizer added: “We are saddened by the current international situation, the result of inefficient dialogue at international level.
“We, the sports community, must remain united and strong, to support each other and our universal values, in order to always promote peace and friendship, harmony and unity.
“The judo family hopes that the current unrest can be solved in the last moment, to re-establish normality and stability in Eastern Europe and the world, to once again be able to focus on the diverse cultures, history and legacy of Europe, in the most positive way.”
Russian forces entered Ukraine's second largest city of Kharkiv in the early hours of Sunday after failing to seize control of the capital city of Kyiv.
Ukraine’s health minister Viktor Liashko said on Saturday that at least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed since the start of the invasion.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
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