Following Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine, Formula 1 on Friday confirmed that the 2022 Russian Grand Prix has been canceled.
“The FIA Formula 1 World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together. We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation,” read an F1 statement.
“On Thursday evening Formula 1, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances,” it added.
Donbas crisis and Russia’s military intervention
The February 2014 “Maidan revolution” in Ukraine led to former President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing the country and a pro-Western government coming to power.
This was followed by Russia illegally annexing the Crimea region and separatists declaring independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Donbas in eastern Ukraine, both of which have large ethnic Russian populations.
As clashes erupted between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian army, the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements were signed in Moscow after the intervention of Western powers.
The conflict, however, simmered for years with persistent cease-fire violations. As of February 2022, some 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Tensions started escalating late last year when Ukraine, the US and its allies accused Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine.
They claimed Russia was preparing to invade its western neighbor, claims consistently rejected by Moscow.
Defying threats of sanctions by the West, Moscow earlier this week officially recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, followed by the start of a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday.
Putin said the operation aims to protect people “subjected to genocide” by Kyiv and to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine, while calling on the Ukrainian army to lay down its arms.