Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

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Ice Hockey Federation Drops Russia, Belarus From World Championships.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka (center) with his son Mikalay watch the gold-medal game of Russia vs Finland at the IIHF International Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk in May 2014.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka (center) with his son Mikalay watch the gold-medal game of Russia vs Finland at the IIHF International Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk in May 2014.

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has announced that France and Austria will replace the Russian and Belarusian teams at the men's ice-hockey championships in Finland.

The move announced on March 19 represents another blow to the Russian sports and cultural community following the Kremlin's unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

Belarus, closely allied with Russia, has also been penalized by world organizations.

"The IIHF Council determined that France and Austria, the next-ranked countries in the 2021 IIHF Men's World Ranking, will take part in the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship," it said on its website .

The tournament is scheduled for May 13-29 in the two Finnish cities.

The IIHF suspended the Russian and Belarusian teams on February 28 in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ice hockey is an extremely popular sport in both Russia and Belarus.

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