Anti-government rallies in Kiev have left 25 people dead and hundreds injured due to clashes with police. The Ukraine Olympic team want to honor those who died, but according to one report they have been denied by the International Olympic Committee.
Athletes planned to wear black armbands during competition to commemorate the dead but the IOC will not allow the gesture, according to Shaun Walker of The Guardian. The decision isn't surprising due to the committee's desire to separate politics from the sporting event, especially given Kiev's proximity to Sochi being less than 1,000 miles Northwest of the games.
The Ukraine capital remains in turmoil Wednesday. Smoke is blanketing the city from fires set in the riots, while streets remain wet from late-night clashes that saw police use water cannons to try and cause the crowd to disperse. Demonstrators are rallying against President Viktor F. Yanukovych, who protesters believe engaged in widespread corruption in office which helped the construction of a multi-million dollar home at a time where many Ukranians live below the poverty line.
There is no confirmation of the IOC's stand outside of Walker's report, but Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement, via the New York Times.
Secretary of State John Kerry urged Mr. Yanukovych to stop the bloodshed. "We call on President Yanukovych and the Ukrainian government to de-escalate the situation immediately, and resume dialogue with the opposition on a peaceful path forward. Ukraine's deep divisions will not be healed by spilling more innocent blood," he said in a statement.
The 2014 Winter Olympics close on Sunday night in Sochi and it will be interesting to see if Ukranian athletes make a statement once competition has concluded.