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Russia backs Belarus as hockey host

Published By United Press International
MOSCOW, March 29 (UPI) -- A Russian Hockey Federation official said the group won't back a European Parliament initiative to bar Belarus from hosting the 2014 world championships.

Valery Fesyuk, executive director of the federation, said the group won't support the European Parliament's Thursday resolution calling on the International Ice Hockey Federation to keep the championships out of Belarus "until the regime shows commitment to human rights and the rule of law," RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

The European Union extended sanctions last week against President Alexander Lukashenko's government after it executed two people convicted of a Minsk subway station bombing that killed 15 people and injured 300 others. Defense lawyers in the case had said the evidence at their November trial was inconclusive.

"I have no doubt that the Russian Hockey Federation will not take any steps that would hinder the holding of the 2014 world championships in Belarus," Fesyuk said. "The IIHF is one family. We are involved in sport. And sport, as everyone knows, is outside politics. If a misunderstanding occurs with one of the members of our family, then we will take a stand to defend him."
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Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa