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U.S. leaders to skip Sochi Paralympics

WASHINGTON – In the wake of Russia moving troops to Ukraine, the U.S. presidential delegation to the Sochi paralympics is canceled, a White House official said Monday. Rep. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill. was selected to lead the U.S. presidential delegation and she was to have left on Wednesday for the games.

“In addition to other measures we are taking in response to the situation in Ukraine, the United States will no longer send a Presidential Delegation to the upcoming Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi. President Obama continues to strongly support all of the U.S. athletes who will participate in the Paralympics and wishes them great success in the Olympic competition,” the White House said.

The United Kingdom announced its leaders are boycotting the upcoming Sochi Paralympics; the U.S. is likely next.

I just talked with a USA Paralympics official and confirmed: The games are on. Most of the U.S. athletes are in or en route to Sochi. What has changed is that government officials will not attend the games to rebuke Russia that there are consequences to its military aggression in Ukraine.

The Paralympics games run from March 7 through March 16.

British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote on his Twitter account, “Because of the serious situation in Ukraine, @WilliamJHague & I believe it would be wrong for UK Ministers to attend the Sochi Paralympics. “Because of the serious situation in Ukraine, (Foreign Secretary) William Hague and I believe it would be wrong for UK Ministers to attend the Sochi Paralympics.”

The G-7 leaders already announced they were suspending planning for the June G-8 Summit in Sochi.