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Russian Gymnast Displays Apparent Pro-War Symbol During Ceremony with Ukrainian Competitor

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The pugnacious face of unbridled Russian aggression appeared at a gymnastics competition Saturday.

Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak finished third in the parallel bars at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup, which was held in Qatar.

The event was won by Ukraine’s Illia Kovtun while  Milad Karimi of Kazakhstan placed second, according to The Sun.

Kuliak brought the war into focus by wearing a “Z” symbol at the podium.

The symbol is not only one near and dear to supporters of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, it is also a symbol of support for the invasion of Ukraine.

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According to an expert cited by the U.K. Express, it can stand “Za pobedy” — the Russian phrase for “victory” — or “Zapad” — the Russian word for “west.” Ukraine is west of Russia, so the bulk of the invasion headed in that direction.

Kovtun refused to acknowledge Kuliak, but he shook hands with Karimi.

Disgust over the incident flowed on Twitter.

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The incident was the last of its kind for some time because Russian gymnasts have now been banned from international competitions while their countrymen invade Ukraine.

The meet was the last one for which athletes from Russia and Belarus could compete.

On Sunday, Poland’s ambassador to the United States told Fox News that the new state of conflict will not pass away soon.

“I believe Ukraine is not the last item on Mr. Putin’s menu,” Ambassador Marek Magierowski, said.

“We have to be ready and determined to uphold the sanctions. Perhaps even for a decade or for 15 years or for 20 years, in order to see to the real effects,” Magierowski said.

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“We have always been right about Russia and about Mr. Putin,” he added.

“Unlike other countries, I mean, Poland, Romania, the Baltics, we have never had any doubts whatsoever about the neo-imperial ambitions of the Russian president.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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