Skiing-FIS cancels World Cup events in Russia

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TOKYO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Five World Cup skiing events scheduled to take place in Russia have been cancelled or moved, the International Ski Federation (FIS) said on Friday after the country invaded Ukraine.

Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea on Thursday following a declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin.

An estimated 100,000 people have fled as explosions and gunfire rocked major cities. Dozens have been reported killed. read more

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"FIS has decided that in the interest of the safety of all participants and to maintain the integrity of the World Cup, that all remaining World Cup events scheduled to take place in Russia between now and the end of the 2021-22 season will be cancelled or moved to another location," it said in a statement.

"Participants are already on site at the two World Cup events that were planned for this weekend (Ski Cross and Aerials) and FIS is working closely with the involved stakeholders to ensure their quick return back home."

The Ski Cross World Cup and Aerials World Cup were to be held over the weekend in Sunny Valley and Yaroslavl in Russia.

In March, Russia was also scheduled to host two Ski Jumping World Cup events in Nizhny Tagil and Chaikovsky while a Cross Country World Cup was to be held in Tyumen -- none of which will take place.

Earlier on Friday, the Ski Association of Japan said it will pull out its team from a ski cross World Cup event in Russia, according to news agency Kyodo.

Japan joined a host of other nations, including Australia and Canada, in abandoning the event as Russia's military attacks deeper into Ukraine.

Alpine Canada, which manages Canada's ski cross athletes, told CBC sports on Thursday that they were withdrawing from the event and were looking to secure flights home as quickly as possible.

The official results of two qualifying ski cross events that appeared to have taken place showed only Russian athletes competing, while skiers from countries including France, Germany, and Canada were marked as 'did not start.'

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Reporting by Sakura Murakami and Rohith Nair; Editing by Kim Coghill and Christian Radnedge

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