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These Ukrainian And Russian Athletes Are Pretty Chill With Each Other, Despite What Their Countries Think

Ignoring the haters pretty damn well.

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On Tuesday, Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev and Russia's David Belyavskiy hugged after coming in gold and bronze medal positions in the men's parallel bars.


In fact, in the lead up and throughout the competition, athletes from the two countries have been seen hanging out and generally being pretty chill. In May, Russian gymanst Nikita Nagornyy posted a photo of him and Verniaiev hanging out at the World Challenge Cup. He captioned it "Olezhka (Oleg) is the champion."

Verniaiev reshared the photo and encouraged his followers to follow Nagornyy's YouTube channel.

However, reaction outside of the games has been less than positive. Over the weekend, senior Ukrainian government official Yuriy Biryukov condemned athletes for taking photos with "the hoard" – Russia – and said the money should go towards military funding.

In response to the criticism, Nagornyy and Verniaiev once again posed for a photo together, this time captioning it "Me and Oleg answer all haters out there."

Whilst some comments on the photo were supportive, the pair faced backlash from Twitter users.

Спортсменам, которые обнимаются с р"cней вместо медалей выдают 30 серебренников.

"Athletes who hug Russians should be given thirty pieces of silver instead of medals."

@katrinverty @CyberUkrop Я це фото мала на увазі, де ця гнида з кацапом обнялася. До чорта його жалюгідну медальку.

"I mean this photo where he’s hugging Russian scum. Screw his miserable medal."

Неужели по прилету в Киев Верняеву подярят цветы, а не забросают яйцами?@innaheisenyuk @cyberukrop @katrinverty

"Upon arrival in Kiev, Vernyaev will be given flowers, not pelted with eggs?"

After the backlash, while Nagornyy's post stayed up, other athletes who had taken photos together removed them from their social media.

This post originally appeared on BuzzFeed Japan.

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Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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