Independence plea by Ukrainian medalist in Sochi

Associated Press
Biathlete Mykhaylo Tkachenko, representing Ukraine, enters the arena during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Paralympics at the Fisht Olympic stadium in Sochi, Russia, Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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Biathlete Mykhaylo Tkachenko, representing Ukraine, enters the arena during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Paralympics at the Fisht Olympic stadium in Sochi, Russia, Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — The first Ukrainian medalist of the Sochi Paralympics dedicated her achievement to "an independent Ukraine," appealing for peace as Russia intensifies its control of Crimea.

Olena Iurkovska claimed bronze in the first biathlon event on the first day of competition on Saturday — the women's 6 kilometer sitting competition.

After finishing behind Svetlana Konovalova of Russia, Iurkovska said: "I devote my first medal in Sochi to an independent Ukraine. Every time I race, it will be for Ukrainian independence and peace in my country."

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