A sanctioned Russian athlete just means that they're automatic winners, Ramzan Kadyrov says

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A sanctioned Russian athlete just means that they're automatic winners, Ramzan Kadyrov says
Ramzan Kadyrov.AP Photo/Musa Saduayev
  • Sanctioned Russian athletes should be considered winners.
  • That's according to Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov.
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Russian athletes have been slapped with a variety of sanctions in light of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24.

In the months since, more than 12 million people have been displaced as multiple cities in that country have been shelled. More than 3,000 civilians have been killed there, according to the UN.

Sporting organizations FIFA and UEFA suspended Russian soccer clubs and national teams from their competitions "in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine." Other sports, including tennis, swimming, and F1 have taken similar steps.

But according to Chechen warlord leader Ramzan Kadyrov, described by the Washington Post in 2016 as Russian President Vladimir Putin's "most aggressive attack dog," this means only one thing — the rest of the sporting world is "afraid."

Russian athletes "are winners," Kadyrov told Russian state-owned news agency RIA. "I congratulate them on their victory."

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Kadyrov can speak as someone who has also been sanctioned.

On International Human Rights Day in 2020, the US Treasury announced it had sanctioned Kadyrov who it described as "a leader of an organization, the Kadyrovtsy, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuses."

The Treasury claimed the Kadyrovtsy "are implicated in the murder of Boris Nemtsov, an opposition opponent to Putin," amongst other violations of human rights that included prior sanctions in 2017 for the Kadyrovtsy's "kidnapping, torturing, and killing members of the LGBTI population in the Chechen Republic."

Speaking to RIA this week, Kadryov said: "When sanctions were imposed against me, I considered myself a winner."

In addition to Kadyrov, the US Treasury also sanctioned various sporting organizations including MMA firms Absolute Championship Akhmat and Akhmat MMA, as well as FC Akhmat Grozny.

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