Russian, Ukrainian Olympic athletes share hug amid escalating tensions between the two nations

Gregory Bull / Associated Press

Olympic athletes from Russia and Ukraine shared a hug after both skiers won medals in the men’s aerials event on Wednesday amid ongoing tensions between the two nations.

Ukraine’s Oleksandr Abramenko and Russia’s Ilia Burov hugged each other after Abramenko won silver in the Olympic event — the first medal Ukraine has won so far — while Burov took home bronze, The Associated Press reported. Chinese skier Qi Guangpu won gold for the event.

On the podium, all three athletes displayed logos or flags representing their nations, according to the AP.

“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 embrace between the two athletes comes as tensions continue to rise between Ukraine and Russia. 

President Biden said on Tuesday that 150,000 Russian troops had amassed near Ukraine and that officials had “not yet verified” Russia’s claims that it had drawn back some of its troops.

“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 claim 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.”

Tags Antony Blinken Antony Blinken Ilia Burov Joe Biden Joe Biden Oleksandr Abramenko Russia Ukraine Winter Olympics

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