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Russian and Ukrainian athletes hug each other at the Winter Olympics amid growing tension between the two nations


BEIJING – Russian and Ukrainian Olympic athletes hugged after both skiers won medals in the men’s aerials event on Wednesday, despite persistent tensions between the two countries.

The Associated Press reported that Ukraine’s Oleksandr Abramenko and Russia’s Ilia Burov hugged after Abramenko won silver in the Olympic event – the first medal for Ukraine – and Burov got bronze. Qi Guangpu of China won gold in the event.

According to the Associated Press, all three athletes showed insignia or flags representing their respective countries on the podium.

“I’m so happy for this silver and really proud of myself that I’ve won the first medal for Ukraine at these Games,” Abramenko said, according to the wire service.

“I’m really happy that I made my five twists, although the landing was not really good, but enough for second place.”

The two athletes’ hug comes as tensions between Ukraine and Russia continue to grow.President Biden stated on Tuesday that 150,000 Russian troops have been stockpiled near Ukraine, and that officials have “not yet verified” Russia’s claims that it has withdrawn some of its forces.

“An invasion remains distinctly possible,” Biden said in remarks on Tuesday. “That’s why I’ve asked several times that all Americans in Ukraine leave now, before it is too late to leave safely.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken sounded a similar note regarding Russia’s claims that it was pulling back troops during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday.

“We continue to see critical units moving toward the border, not away from the border,” Blinken said. “There’s what Russia says and then there’s what Russia does, and we haven’t seen any pullback of its forces.”


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