April 26, 2023 – Russia-Ukraine news

Vitalia Dyachenko competes in 2019.
Vitalia Dyachenko competes in 2019. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images)

Poland’s state-owned airline LOT has denied a Russian tennis player aboard in compliance with sanctions introduced following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the carrier said in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.

Vitalia Dyachenko – who was not named by the airline in its statement – was refused to board a LOT flight departing Cairo on Monday as she was flying to Corsica via Warsaw and Nice to play in a tournament. Was traveling to Calvi.

The airline confirmed to CNN that it “could not accept a citizen of the Russian Federation on its flight,” citing restrictions introduced by Poland’s Interior Ministry during the Covid-19 pandemic and after the March 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Updated in

“The provisions of the regulation impose restrictions on certain border crossings, including airport crossings, in respect of citizens of the Russian Federation traveling from outside the Schengen area,” the airline said.

Dyachenko told CNN on Wednesday that she was unable to reach her destination after being denied a flight because of her Russian passport and is now back in Moscow.

According to Reuters, the 32-year-old also said she attempted to buy a ticket from German airline Lufthansa but was advised she could only enter the Schengen area through Spain, which had issued her a visa. CNN was not able to independently verify this.

Some background: Tennis has continued to welcome Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions, despite an initial recommendation from the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board in February 2022.

In January, the IOC outlined a multi-phase plan for Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the upcoming 2024 Summer Games in Paris and the 2026 Winter Games in Milan. The IOC’s plan received criticism from the United States, Canada and several European countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland.

According to the latest IOC recommendations, released in March, athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports must compete only as individual neutral athletes and must meet all anti-doping requirements. Those who support wars or are contracted to military or national security agencies cannot compete.

IOC President Thomas Bach defended the latest recommendations, citing tennis as an example where the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes “works” despite the war. Bach also criticized some European governments for their “negative reaction” to the organization’s stance on Russia.

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