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Reply: Lotta Udnis Wing witnessed Veronika Stepanova’s speech in which she praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Cross-country skier Veronika Stepanova, 21, paid tribute to Russian President Vladimir Putin and hinted that the nation would win the war against Ukraine. That surprised Lotta Odnis Wing (25).

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– It’s a little shocking. It is quite far from what we see from the outside. It’s hard to believe she comes up with these opinions herself. It gets a slightly different picture of the situation than we get. They probably won’t see what we see, Odens Wing tells VG.

Stepanova Thanks to Putin For his interest in sports during a ceremony where the president met the nation’s Olympic champions from Beijing. Stepanova said the following in an excerpt shown on the TV channel Bgervig:

– In my eyes, Russia is back strong, proud and successful again. Not everyone in the world likes her, it’s obvious.

Stepanova continued in a way that indicated she was mindful of the war and sanctions against Russian sport:

– But we are on the right track, and we will definitely win, just as we won the Olympics.

It has been more than two months since Russia went to war with Ukraine.

– That speech came from the heart, its coach Yuri Borodavko told Russia’s RIA Sport.

Stepanova rose to the docking stage when the Russian relay team won the Olympic gold in Beijing, under a neutral flag as a result of a state-run doping program from the Olympics at home in 2014. She has become known as an outspoken athlete. Lately it has been getting more difficult Criticism of Russia’s ski chief Ellen Valby.

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Meeting Putin: Veronika Stepanova (R) met with Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) where he praised the winners of the Winter Olympics.

VG asks how Udnes Weng stands up to compete against a runner who made these statements in the future.

– I didn’t think that much. I think one must distinguish between politics and sports, but it seems as in Russia and in other countries that it is a rather smooth transition, answers Odens Wing and continues:

We’d love to see that they distanced themselves, but then you have to see it from their point of view as well. You can see that people who were distinguished by courage did not go through so easily after that.

Aji Borschgrevink, a senior adviser to the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, believes that Putin consciously arranged the ceremony.

Sport is an essential part of Putin’s ritual and is of great importance to the Kremlin. It became clear that the state invests a lot in sports, when the doping project of Russia was revealed in Sochi. Putin wants to be a winner among the winners, and is still building the appearance of the athlete he once was – although he still has backaches after falling off his horse nine years ago. So it’s no wonder he wants to meet Stepanova, who also has many young followers on social media, a group the Kremlin is keen to reach, Borschgrevink tells VG.

Former Ukrainian tennis player Alexander Dolgopolov shakes his head due to Stepanova’s comments on Twitter.

– They said that Russian sports have nothing to do with politics. They said they are all innocent. Yes, in particular, writes Dolgopolov.

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Russia is banned from international sports. A number of Russian politicians and athletes have said this is wrong because “politics and sports are two different issues”.

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