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Ukrainian skier out after Russia captures father

Crisis in Ukraine: The global implications of Russia’s invasion

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rages on and the humanitarian toll mounts, USA TODAY reporters in the region and in Washington chart the ripple effects of this unprecedented conflict. Zulekha Nathoo hosts ‘Crisis in Ukraine.’

Staff video, USA TODAY

A Ukrainian biathlete withdrew from a competition at the Beijing Paralympics after her father was captured by Russian troops. 

Anastasiia Laletina did not race in the biathlon middle distance sitting event Tuesday after she heard her father, a soldier in the Ukrainian army was taken prisoner by Russian soldiers, team spokesperson Nataliia Harach confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. 

“They beat him,” Harach said. 

Laletina, 19, was tended to by a team doctor, Harach said. Per her International Paralympic Committee bio, Laletina began para Nordic skiing in 2019 in her native Chernihiv. 

Harach added that an assistant coach’s home in Kharkiv was bombed recently.  

Ukraine won nine of 18 medals awarded at Tuesday’s biathlon events. The podium success increased the country’s medal total to 17 (six gold, seven silver, four bronze), which is second behind China (27 medals). Canada is in third with 13. 

Ukrainian biathlete Dmytro Suiarko, the bronze medalist in the middle distance vision impaired, won his medal a day after his house was destroyed by Russian shelling.

Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine has drawn worldwide criticism and response. After initially allowing athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete in the Beijing Paralympics, the IPC reversed the decision and expelled the athletes from those countries.  

The U.N. office of human rights has recorded 1,335 civilian casualties across Ukraine since the war began, including 474 killed and 861 injured. 

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.


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