Russian athletes barred from beloved ice skating events amid ongoing invasion of Ukraine

Russian sports just took another major blow in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The International Skating Union, the body in charge of ice skating around the world, said Tuesday that athletes from Russia (or Belarus) would not be invited or allowed to participate in skating events until further notice, The Associated Press reports.

"The ISU Council reiterates its solidarity with all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine and our thoughts are with the entire Ukrainian people and country," the governing body said in a statement. The decision arrives one day after the International Olympic Committee recommended Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred from competing in international competitions while the devastating invasion unfolds.

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Ice skating is an extremely popular sport back in Russia, with the country's athletes often dominating the competition. During the Winter Olympics last month, Russian figure skater and gold medal-favorite Kamila Valieva, 15, made headlines after finding herself at the center of a still-unresolved doping scandal; shockingly, she did not place in the top three of the women's free skate competition. Her teammate Anna Shcherbakova instead took the top spot.

Neither Valieva nor Shcherbakova, however, will be allowed to compete in the world figure skating championships this month as a result of the ISU's decision.

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On Monday, Russia was also banned from competing in soccer competitions and hockey, which AP notes is President Vladimir Putin's favorite sport.

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