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Russia Backs World Hockey Championship In Minsk

The Russian Ice Hockey Federation has come out in support of Belarus's right to host the 2014 world championship in Minsk.

The statement comes with Belarus facing increasing international opposition to its hosting of the tournament due to human rights violations by the regime of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The executive director of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, Valery Fesyuk, has denounced this week's resolution by the European Parliament calling on world hockey authorities to consider reversing the decision to award the tournament to Belarus.

Fesyuk said Russian hockey officials would not abandon Belarus.

Russia’s State Duma lower house of parliament has also criticized the European Parliament resolution, calling it “not constructive.”

In its resolution, the parliament demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Belarus.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti, Belta, and Interfax