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Ukrainian Biathlete Yevhen Maylshev Killed While Defending Country Against Russia

Yevhen Maylshev, a 19-year-old former biathlete from Ukraine, was killed in action Tuesday while serving as a member of the country's military in its fight against Russian forces. 

The International Biathlon Union issued a statement announcing Maylshev's passing on Wednesday. Maylshev represented the Ukraine national team and Kharkiv junior team before retiring in 2020.

The Ukrainian Biathlon Federation also released a statement, via Spanish sports newspaper Marca, in response to the tragic news, saying in part, "We express our deepest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones. Eternal memory."

Maylshev's passing drew a strong response from the Athletes of Ukraine and Global Athlete; the organizations released a joint statement Wednesday condemning the International Paralympic Committee for allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the 2022 Beijing Paralympic Games under a neutral flag.

"How many more more lives need to be lost before sport implements meaningful sanctions?,” the statement read in part. “Lives are being lost, families are being torn apart, and tears flow for the Ukrainian nation. The IPC and sport cannot stop the violence, but they could have sent a message that Russian and Belarusian’s action warrant the toughest sanctions and complete isolation.”

Ukrainian athletes from various leagues around the world have shown support for their country in a multitude of ways, with some announcing their intention to join the Russia-Ukraine War.

Star boxers and childhood friends Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko took up arms as members of territorial defense battalions while former heavyweight champion and current Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko vowed to defend Ukraine alongside brother and former boxer, Wladimir, who joined the country's reserve army earlier this year. 

For more SI Coverage on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, click here