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28 Feb, 2022 08:12

Chess star facing disciplinary action for Ukraine stance

Sergey Karjakin expressed his support for Vladimir Putin and the military action in Ukraine
Chess star facing disciplinary action for Ukraine stance

Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin is facing disciplinary action from the International Chess Federation (FIDE) after expressing support for his country’s military operation in Ukraine.

In an open letter to President Vladimir Putin shared on social media on Sunday, the Crimean-born Karjakin said he fully backed the effort to fight “for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.”

“I appeal to you at this difficult time, when our country, led by you, is fighting for the safety of the peaceful Russian population of Donbass and the Lugansk People’s Republic,” wrote the 32-year-old.

“It is fighting for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine with its ruling regime, which has put the security of all of Europe and our country at risk, for the sake of its political goals and ambitions.

“I am closely following the ongoing special operation, in the lands where I spent my childhood, where I learned to play chess and where my relatives still live.

"For eight long years we have been waiting with hope for salvation from countless shelling and loss of human lives, the ongoing genocide by the still acting Kiev regime.

“I express to you, our commander-in-chief, full support in protecting the interests of Russia, our multinational Russian people, eliminating threats and establishment of peace! I wish you the speedy fulfillment of all the tasks assigned to our valiant army.”

In response to the post, FIDE said its Ethics and Disciplinary Commission would investigate Karjakin and fellow Russian grandmaster Sergey Shipov.

FIDE, whose president is Russian former deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich, announced on Sunday that it was banning Russia and Belarus from holding official FIDE events because of the Ukraine conflict.

The Russian and Belarusian anthems will be prohibited at FIDE events, and players from the two countries will not be able to use their national flags.

Furthermore, the chess governing body will end sponsorship agreements with any sanctioned or state-controlled Russian or Belarusian companies.

Karjakin was born in the Crimean city of Simferopol and has been a vocal supporter the integration of the peninsula back into Russia after a referendum in 2014.

He is one of Russia’s best-known chess stars, and contested the world title against Norwegian great Magnus Carlsen in 2016. Karjakin is a former world rapid and blitz chess champion.