"We do not shake hands with murderers". Online reaction to the incident with Harlan and the Russian woman at the World Fencing Championships
Celebrities, politicians, football clubs - all Ukrainians did not remain indifferent to the incident that took place at the 2023 Fencing World Championships in Milan. Ukrainian sabre fencer Olga Harlan was disqualified for refusing to shake hands with Russian Anna Smirnova
"A great act of a great Ukrainian woman. We are proud of Olga Harlan and thank her. Russians have no place in civilised competitions," Ukraine's fifth president, Petro Poroshenko, wrote on his Telegram channel.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the International Fencing Federation (FIE) to return Olga to the 2023 World Cup and compared the behaviour of Russian sabre fencer Smirnova to the Russian army.
"Anna Smirnova lost a fair competition and decided to play dirty with a handshake. This is exactly how the Russian army acts on the battlefield. Olga Harlan won a fair competition and proved herself with dignity. I call on the FIE to restore Harlan's rights and allow her to compete," Kuleba said on Twitter.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, posted a photo of Smirnova with her brother, a member of the Russian army.
"The picture shows Anna Smirnova, a Russian fencer, with whom Ukrainian Olga Harlan refused to shake hands at the World Championships after winning a fair fight. As you can see, she openly admires the Russian army, which is killing Ukrainians and destroying our cities. The International Fencing Federation disqualified the Ukrainian representative for not shaking hands with the Russian," Podolyak said.
Ukraine's first racket player Elina Svitolina urged the FIE to respect Ukraine's position.
"We do not shake hands with Russian and Belarusian athletes. This is our position. I urge international sports organizations and federations to respect our decision," the tennis player said.
The leader of the Voice party, Kira Rudyk, voiced the position of all Ukrainians.
"I am absolutely outraged by the decision to disqualify Ukrainian sabre fencer Olga Harlan from the World Championships for refusing to shake hands with a Russian athlete. We don't shake hands with bloody murderers," Rudyk said.
Both celebrities and ordinary Ukrainians support Olga and are outraged by the actions of the FIE.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, the famous Ukrainian fencer Olga Harlan defeated Russian Anna Smirnova in the round of 32 of the 2023 World Cup in Milan. After the fight, our compatriot refused to shake hands with her opponent, who staged a real circus by refusing to leave the track. The Russian representative lodged a protest against the result of the duel, which was rejected.
The propaganda TV channel Match TV published a photo of the denunciation that Anna Smirnova wrote against Olga, and Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matitsyn called the FIE's decision to punish the Olympic champion from Mykolaiv the right one.
Smirnova herself is not a "neutral" athlete, as required by the competition regulations. Smirnova's brother is a military officer, and she is very proud of him, as can be seen from their joint photos.
The Ukrainian Fencing Federation is preparing a protest. However, the appeal will not be considered immediately, which means that the Beijing 2008 gold medallist will not be able to continue competing in the individual events at the tournament.