As tensions with Ukraine mount, Putin says he supports 'Chinese friends' in hosting Olympics

The Russian president will attend the games and meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week

Updated: January 25, 2022 - 3:41pm

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that his country is opposed to the diplomatic boycotts of the 2022 Winter Olympics being held in Beijing, China. 

"I consider the main goal of these competitions to attract as many citizens as possible to sport and the strengthening of friendship between peoples," said Putin as other world leaders opposing the games over China's human rights violations and efforts to squash the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. 

"These approaches are shared by the organizers of the upcoming Games, our Chinese friends," continued Putin according to the Associated Press. "Together we stand against the politicization of sport and demonstrative boycotts. We support the traditional Olympic values, above all, equality and fairness."

The games, which will begin next week, are being boycotted by diplomats from the United States and several other Western nations primarily over the Chinese government's genocidal treatment of the Uyghur minority population in Xinjiang.

Putin is expected to attend the games and meet with President Xi Jinping next week. His announcement of support for the Chinese-hosted games arrives amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Putin has amassed close to 100,000 troops on the border near Ukraine, and the U.S. and other NATO allies are preparing for a possible Russian invasion. 

Putin's show of force is in opposition to Ukraine's efforts to join NATO. 

On Monday, the Pentagon said roughly 8,500 U.S. military personnel have been placed on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to Eastern Europe.