Ukraine Olympic chief Bubka urges end of violence

SOCHI, Russia Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:39am GMT

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sergei Bubka arrives to the IOC Executive Board meeting and 126th IOC Session in Sochi, February 2, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sergei Bubka arrives to the IOC Executive Board meeting and 126th IOC Session in Sochi, February 2, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Ukrainian Olympic Committee chief and former pole vault champion Sergey Bubka on Wednesday called for an end to violence in his country and said Ukrainian athletes were competing "peacefully" at the Sochi Winter Games in Russia.

"I want to bring Olympic Truce to my country," Bubka said on Twitter. "Dialogue is power, violence is weakness.

"Our athletes are competing hard in Sochi, but peacefully and with honor. Violence has no place in the world."

At least 25 people were killed in fresh anti-government protests, and on Wednesday demonstrators again poured on to a central Kiev square, preparing to confront police.

Many people have been killed by gunshot and hundreds have been injured, with dozens in a serious condition, police and opposition representatives said.

Bubka, who is an adviser to the president of Ukraine, is an Executive Board member of the International Olympic Committee and is also one of the leaders of Ukrainian city Lviv's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"Those are terrible scenes," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters. "I'm sure that the Olympic truce is an important, symbolic thing for us - I'm not sure really that it plays much part in what's going on there.

"But clearly we hope that the situation will be solved as quickly and with as less bloodshed as possible," Adams said.

He said any talk of the Lviv bid during the violence back in Ukraine was secondary.

"In terms of Lviv and the bid, I think at this stage with the terrible things that are going on at the moment, I think we should concentrate on what's going on there and hope that solves itself in as peaceful a way as possible.

"It is not really right to be speculating on an Olympic bid when such things are happening."

Lviv is up against Poland's Krakow, Beijing, Kazakhstan's Almaty and Norwegian capital Oslo with a shortlist of cities to be drawn up in five months.

(Editing by Mike Collett-White/Peter Rutherford)

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