Russian chess grandmaster banned for six months for supporting Ukraine invasion

Sergey Karjakin released a series of statements on social media supporting the Russian attack and sent chilling warnings to the Ukrainian people

Sergey Karjakin has expressed his support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Sergey Karjakin has expressed his support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

A Russian chess grandmaster has been handed a lengthy ban after making a series of comments and statements showing his support Wladimir Putin ‘s bloody invasion of Ukraine.

Sergey Karjakin caused outrage in the chess world and moreover, just days after Russian forces invaded the country where he was born and represented in his early days as a young prodigy. He switched allegiance to Russia as a 19-year-old and has been flying the white-blue-red flag ever since.

And despite two invasions of his homeland – the first when Crimea was annexed in 2014 before the full-blown war that began last month – he is firmly in the pro-Putin camp. In an open letter to the Russian leader, he parroted the Kremlin’s lines that the invasion was an act of “protection” towards the Ukrainian people.

“She is fighting for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine with her ruling regime, which has compromised the security of all of Europe and our country for the sake of her political goals and ambitions,” he wrote. “I am closely following the ongoing special operations in the countries where I spent my childhood, where I learned to play chess and where my relatives still live.

“I express my full support to you, our Commander-in-Chief, in protecting the interests of Russia, our multinational Russian people, eliminating threats and establishing peace! I wish you speedy completion of all the tasks entrusted to our brave army. “

The International Chess Federation (FIDE) soon announced that disciplinary action would be taken against him, but this did not stop Karjakin from making further statements on the conflict. In a tweet, he claimed a taxi driver in Dubai told him “Russia is great” and that the UAE is “not as stupid as Ukraine”.

Karjakin was banned for six months for his comments


TASS/PA images)

In a separate post, this time on his Telegram channel, the 32-year-old apparently addressed the Ukrainians directly, telling them that they cannot win against Russia and that they should surrender so the “pointless” fighting can end . He ended that statement with what appeared to be a chilling threat: “If you join the Kiev regime…don’t say you weren’t warned.”

Announcing the ban on Monday, FIDE said it had “pleasant satisfaction” that Karjakin’s remarks could be linked to the sport in general and that they could damage chess’ reputation. There is also a “significant” possibility that the Russian’s own reputation will be tarnished.

as Chess24 Karjakin is reportedly able to appeal the verdict, but appears to be against it. He is quoted by the Russian news agency TASS as saying that he “sees no point in appealing”.

He added: “Every court will side with Europe. And FIDE is an international sports organization that does it like everyone else. And coincidentally, it’s still led by a Russian. I don’t think that will last much longer.”

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