ukrainian-paralympian-pulls-out-of-event-after-father-captured-by-russian-forces:-report

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A Ukrainian biathlete pulled out of the Paralympics after her father was reportedly captured by Russian military forces who invaded the country.

Anastasiia Laletina was set to participate in the Games when she stepped aside, a Ukrainian Paralympic Committee spokesperson told Reuters. Laletina’s father is a solider in the Ukrainian military, but details about his reported capture were scant.

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Anastasiia Laletina of Ukraine in action

Anastasiia Laletina of Ukraine in action (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

Laletina, 19, was set to compete in the middle-distance sitting event at the Paralympics. According to Reuters, she was still in Zhangjiakou, China, and is set to fly back to Poland when the Games are finished.

Ukraine has done well at the Paralympics even with Russia’s invasion in the forefront. Ukraine has won six gold, eight silver and five bronze medals at the Paralympics for a grand total of 19 medals. 

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Anastasiia Laletina of Team Ukraine competes in the Women's Sprint Sitting Qualification on day five of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics at Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre on March 9, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China.

Anastasiia Laletina of Team Ukraine competes in the Women’s Sprint Sitting Qualification on day five of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics at Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre on March 9, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

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The Ukrainians are in second place in total medals behind China (31) and are in third in gold medals behind China (10) and Canada (7).

Laletina is from Chernihiv, which is among the cities still being heavily shelled by Russian forces. Britain’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that fighting has continued in Kyiv.

Anastasiia Laletina of Ukraine in action

Anastasiia Laletina of Ukraine in action (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

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CIA Director William Burns told a congressional committee on Tuesday an intensified Russian push could mean “an ugly next few weeks.” He warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was likely to “grind down the Ukrainian military with no regard for civilian casualties.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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