Sporting bodies and figures around the world have condemned Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, the crisis breaking out on Thursday in the middle of the Beijing Games hiatus.

The incident had immediate effects on sporting events held in Russia or involving its teams. Japan was among a host of nations to pull out of a freestyle World Cup ski cross event being held in Russia, while the 2023 rugby World Cup qualifier between Georgia and Russia in Tbilisi on Sunday was called off.

The Ski Association of Japan said its four-man team pulled out of the World Cup event at Sunny Valley, Russia, and is leaving for safety reasons.

They were among the 55 skiers who did not start with only six, all from Russia, competing. The women's qualification was limited to seven Russian skiers, with entries from 17 other countries not starting.

The International Olympic Committee on Thursday said in a statement that the invasion constitutes a "breach of the Olympic Truce" adopted at the U.N. General Assembly in December, while the International Paralympic Committee said the truce was endorsed "by consensus of all 193 member states and is co-sponsored by 173 member states, including Russia."

According to the IOC, the truce began a week before the Feb. 4 start of the Beijing Olympics and ends a week after the closing of the March 13 Paralympic Games.

"This is a truly horrible situation, and we are greatly concerned about our National Paralympic Committee and Para athletes from Ukraine," said IPC President Andrew Parsons.

"Our top priority right now is the safety and well-being of the Ukrainian delegation, with whom we are in regular dialogue."

Parsons said he spoke with Ukrainian Paralympic Committee President Valeriy Sushkevych and was informed that while Ukrainian Para athletes wish to compete in Beijing, "getting the team to Beijing is going to be a mammoth challenge."

European football's governing body UEFA, meeting in an emergency session on Friday, moved this season's May 28 Champions League final from the Gazprom Arena in Russia's Saint Petersburg to Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris.

The football associations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic jointly issued a statement saying Russia should not be allowed to host 2022 World Cup qualifiers next month.

Russia is scheduled to host Poland on March 24, while Sweden and the Czech Republic could play away to Russia on March 29.

"FIFA expresses hope for rapid cessation of hostilities and for peace in Ukraine," said Gianni Infantino, president of the sport's world governing body, adding it could take decisions on the qualifiers immediately as soon as required.

Ukraine's former star forward and manager Andriy Shevchenko said on Instagram, "We only want peace" and "War is not the answer."

World Athletics said its president Sebastian Coe had spoken with his senior vice president Sergey Bubka as well as the Ukrainian Athletics Federation and had offered whatever practical support it could give.

"World Athletics is appalled by developments in Ukraine and condemns the Russian military invasion," it said.

German news agency DPA reported that the International Ski Federation is not ruling out the possibility of cross-country and ski jumping World Cup events next month being canceled on Russian territory.

The International Federation of Sport Climbing held an emergency meeting on Friday with its World Cup opener scheduled in Moscow in early April, while the Association of Tennis Professionals has canceled a Challenger Tour event next week in Moscow.

A Judo Grand Slam meet is scheduled in Kazan in May, while the men's volleyball world championship is set to take place across Russia in August and September.

"I can't believe what I'm seeing...I hope you know we're thinking of you and praying for you," tweeted Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka with a yellow and light blue heart emoji in tribute to the Ukrainian flag.

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