Photos of the Russia-destroyed Altair ice arena in Druzhkivka, Donetsk Oblast, were shared by Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba on Instagram on Jan. 3.
It was destroyed in a Russian attack on Jan. 2 after Russian troops had launched three missile strikes on Druzhkivka. Along with the Altair ice arena, the home arena of the Donbas hockey club and the country’s largest hockey and figure skating school turned into ruins.
Commenting on the photos of the destruction, Kuleba invited all sports officials seeking to allow Russian athletes to participate in international competitions, including International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, to visit the Altair and see Russia's “sport’s neutrality” with their own eyes.
"Every foreign politician or sports official should see these photos before saying that ‘sport should be kept separate from politics,’” Kuleba said.
“The Altair ice arena in Druzhkivka destroyed by Russian terrorists' shelling. Ukrainian and international competitions used to be held there. Children and adults trained there. It was not just a sports facility, but one of the key arenas for the development of Ukrainian sports and the largest hockey and figure skating school in Ukraine. The only shots that took place here were hockey bullets. Until the ‘depoliticized’ Russian bombs struck.”
The diplomat called on foreign sports officials to see the extent of damage for themselves.
“I invite all sports officials who want to allow Russian athletes to participate in international competitions because ‘sport is outside politics,’ in particular President of the IOC Thomas Bach, to visit the Altair and see ‘sports neutrality’ of Russia with their own eyes,” Kuleba stated.
“Maybe then they will finally realize why it is immoral to hide behind abstract ‘neutrality’ in such a situation. Russia and Belarus must be held fully liable for their crimes against peace and their athletes cannot participate in international competitions as if nothing had happened.”