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Ukrainian Paralympian Calls For Peace, Independence After Winning Medal In Sochi

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Olena Iurkovska of Russia celebrates after she won the gold medal of the Women's 10 km Sitting Cross Country competition at the Turin 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Pragelato Plan, northern Italy, Wednesday, March 15, 2006. | ASSOCIATED PRESS

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — The first Ukrainian medalist of the Sochi Paralympics dedicated her achievement to "an independent Ukraine," appealing for peace as Russia intensifies its control of Crimea.

Olena Iurkovska claimed bronze in the first biathlon event on the first day of competition on Saturday — the women's 6 kilometer sitting competition.

After finishing behind Svetlana Konovalova of Russia, Iurkovska said: "I devote my first medal in Sochi to an independent Ukraine. Every time I race, it will be for Ukrainian independence and peace in my country."

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