Russia Fires Back at Olympics for Correcting Ukraine Map to Include Crimea
The Olympics have frequently become a battleground for countries’ territorial claims. This week, amid the opening ceremonies, have been no exception.
Russia on Friday fired back at the International Olympic Committee after it appeared to change a map previously showing the Crimean Peninsula as separate from Ukraine hours before the games’ opening ceremonies were scheduled to begin.
“This is a reason for our embassy and our sports officials to take appropriate action and ask appropriate questions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday morning, according to a translation of his remarks.
He was responding to a tweet from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba earlier in the day saying that his government had objected to a “Fan Map” on the Olympics official website that included a border between Ukraine and Crimea. Russia annexed the strategically critical peninsula in 2014 – when it began ongoing support for pro-Russian separatists in other parts of Ukraine – despite enduring international condemnation.
“They apologized for the mistake,” Kuleba wrote, according to a translation of his post. “In the morning, Tokyo time, the map has already been corrected.”
The International Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the dispute.
Other international organizations, including the U.N., do not recognize Russia’s claims over Crimea, showing it as a part of Ukraine in an official map. Others have previously taken a more practical approach, such as National Geographic, whose director of editorial and research in 2014 told U.S. News about its decision to include Crimea as part of Russia, “we map the world as it is, not as people would like it to be.”
The international stage afforded by the high profile nature of the Olympic Games has commonly become a public battlespace for countries’ border disputes. This year has been no exception – South Korea summoned the deputy ambassador of Japan early this month after a map on the Olympics website showed a set of islands that Seoul claims as a part of Japanese territory.
An ongoing and occasionally violent border dispute between India and China prompted the Indian Olympic Association this month to drop its partnership with a Chinese sportswear manufacturing company, opting instead for its athletes to wear unbranded apparel to the games.
And Russia’s winning the right to host the winter games in Sochi in 2014 came under renewed scrutiny at the time for its history of having invaded a part of Georgia.
(c) US News