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Stella Zakharova Cup Postponed

The Ukrainian crisis has forced Stella Zakharova to postpone her annual eponymous competition, The Stella Zakharova Cup. The competition was originally slated to be held March 29-30 in Kiev, but is now being held April 26-27.



“in order to prepare and hold the […] Stella Zakharova Cup 2014 on a high organisational level and with the guarantees of safety for everyone involved,” the event organizers said in a letter to the FIG.

Last year, Aliya Mustafina and Ukraine's own Oleg Vernyayev took home the all-around prizes.

Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Stella was a member of the 1980 soviet olympic gymnastics team where she took home a team gold medal. She was also a world champion with the Soviet team in 1981. She is also one of only six non-American female athletes to win the American Cup. She has remained active in gymnastics as a judge and in 2000, she held the first Stella Zakharova Cup. Stella has been married  to football player, Viktor Khlus since 1982, and the couple have two children together, a son, Oleg and a daughter, Christina.



Timeline of the Ukrainian Crisis:
The crisis in the Ukraine began in November 2013 when then president, Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign a trade agreement with the European Union, instead, opting for closer ties with Russia. This lead to protests from pro-EU supporters. Bloody images spread online of protesters bloodied by police.

In December, 300,000 people gathered in protest in Kiev's Independence Square. Activists seize the city hall. That same month, Russian President, Vladimir Putin agreed to buy $15 billion in Ukrainian government bonds and cut the cost of natural gas for Ukraine.

In January, peaceful protests turn violent, as the government passes anti-protest laws accused of being Draconian. In response, the United States and the European Union, tried to convince Yanukovich to end the crisis peacefully, otherwise, they would have to introduce sanctions against those responsible for the violence.

In February, activists ended the seize of the government and 234 people jailed during the protests are released. The peace is short lived. By the end of February, Ukrainian politicians vote to remove Yanukovich from office. Parliament votes to release former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko from prison. Yanukovich flees Kiev and takes refuge in Russia. Presidential powers are assigned to Oleksander Turchinov.

After the Ukrainian revolution and the overthrowing of Yanukovich. Protests erupted in Crimea, advocating the separation. On March 1, Russian troops invaded Crimea and seized control of military bases, civil buildings and airports. The Russian legislature approved the use of military force in the Ukraine.

Further reading:
Timeline: Ukraine's Political Crisis
2014 Ukrainian revolution


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