Recently, the Haas F1 team terminated an existing contract with Russian-native Mazepin and the title sponsor Uralkali, a Russian potash fertilizer producer and exporter owned by Mazepin’s father, oligarch Dmitry Mazepin.
Uralkali was dropped as a sponsor on Feb. 24, the same day Russia invaded Ukraine. Later, Nikita Mazepin was released from his contract on March 5.
“As with the rest of the Formula 1 community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict,” Haas F1 team said in the statement announcing Mazepin’s termination.
Both Nikita and Dmitry Mazepin were added to the European Union sanction list just a few days after the driver’s F1 contract was terminated.
The EU cited Dmitry’s Feb. 24 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (and other business people) as reason for the sanction, claiming he “is a member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin.” The EU report also claimed, “that he is supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as stability and security in Ukraine.”
Nikita Mazepin was sanctioned by the EU for being “associated with a leading businessperson (his father) involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Government of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine.”
In an interview with BBC, Mazepin said he “does not agree with being in the sanctions” and that he intends to “fight it.”
“Perhaps now is not the right time because if you look at the whole situation that’s happening against athletes in the general case, it’s cancel culture against my country,” Mazepin said.
When Mazepin was asked if he had seen images coming out of Ukraine as fighting rages on, he said he had and that it is “painful to watch that on many levels.”
He added that he “sees tremendous risks in saying anything at all” about the war because he will “never satisfy everyone.” It is for this reason that Mazepin said he will keep “publicly quiet.”
Mazepin is not the only Russian athlete to be banned from professional sports amid the Russian-Ukraine invasion.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in some international sports competitions including hockey and soccer.
FIFA and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) also banned Russia from competing in all of their competitions, including qualifying games for the 2022 World Cup.
This week the Boston Marathon became the latest organization to ban runners from Russia and Belarus.
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