International Judo Federation Suspends Vladimir Putin’s Honorary President Status Amid Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

As the attack on Ukraine entered a fourth day on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin temporarily lost his most senior official position in world sports. The International Judo Federation cited “the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine” for suspending Putin’s honorary president status.

The Russian president is a keen judoka and attended the sport at the 2012 London Olympics.

Russia’s Sergey Soloveychik, the president of the European Judo Union, abruptly resigned from his post on Sunday, as well. Soloveychik referenced the “heartache that we see the people in brotherly countries die” but backed his country in announcing his decision.

“No one doubts that my heart belongs to judo,” he said. “But it is equally true that it belongs to my homeland, Russia. We, judoka, must always be loyal to our principles.”

In Putin’s other favorite sport, ice hockey, Latvian club Dinamo Riga withdrew Sunday from the Russian-owned and -run Kontinental Hockey League, citing the “military and humanitarian crisis.”

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