Ukraine issues advice to its Olympic athletes about Russian rivals – media
Officials from the Ukrainian Sports Ministry have reportedly advised their athletes at next month's Winter Olympics in Beijing to avoid speaking Russian during interviews.
According to Russia's Match TV, it has also been suggested that Ukrainian athletes should refuse to appear in photographs featuring Russian sports stars throughout the Games.
This comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries, as well as prior instances during the Tokyo Olympics last summer which prompted the intervention of high-level officials of the Ukrainian government.
One such flashpoint came last August when Ukraine Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar called for a meeting with high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh, who is also a junior army sergeant, after she was seen embracing Russian high jump champion Maria Lasitskene.
Malyar hit out at what she saw as Mahuchikh's "careless behavior" during what she described at the time as the "Russian-Ukrainian war".
She also implied that Mahuchikh may become a target for the Russian intelligence community due to her actions, a suggestion which was dismissed by a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"Our athletes show a world class [approach], demonstrating pure sport without politics and intrigue," said Maria Zakharova.
A similar situation arose during the Paralympics, though this time reports indicated that a Ukrainian rival of double-gold winning Russian athlete Dmitry Safronov refused to be pictured alongside him, prompting speculation he had been told to not be photographed alongside Russian athletes.
"How did he react? That's his business," said Safronov of Ihor Tsvietov's apparent refusal to be photographed on the winners' podium.
"[Patriotism] is calculated, but for me it is calculated in gold medals."
Tsvietov's actions later drew criticism, according to Sport Express, for being disrespectful to the "Paralympic movement".