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.
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.
Russia’s Ivan Kuliak won bronze at a gymnastics event in Qatar, while Illya Kovtun of Ukraine clinched gold.
The Russian stepped onto the podium with the pro-war ‘z’ symbol on his chest, while stood next to a man whose country Vladimir Putin has invaded. https://t.co/HY6WRjwBCO
— Daniel Moxon (@dmoxon_) March 6, 2022
WTF Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak caused outrage by wearing a national Z war symbol on the podium.
Personally I am extremely happy for removing all Russian athletes from international sport – we don’t need to see this crap again. pic.twitter.com/Z1SfwyHI7B
— Markus Sanderus (@MarkusSanderus) March 6, 2022
Just saw that Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak wore ‘Z’ symbol at the World Cup in Doha yesterday to show his support for the war in Ukraine. Can’t think of a more disgusting thing to do and a better reason to ban Russia from sporting events altogether instead of current half measures pic.twitter.com/1rmV5UNQnR
— Tadeusz Giczan 🇺🇦 (@TadeuszGiczan) March 6, 2022
Ivan Kuliak wore the letter Z on his chest – the symbol of Russian invasion in Ukraine – at a competition where Ukrainian gymnasts were competing. This is horrifying, @gymnastics https://t.co/i4COR0c1hE
— Gymnovosti (@gymnovosti) March 5, 2022
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.
— Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova) March 6, 2022
“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.
“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.