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Russia withdraws bid to host Expo 2030 amid war in Ukraine

Russia withdraws bid to host Expo 2030 amid war in Ukraine
Russia on Monday announced that it has withdrawn its application to host Expo 2030. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

May 24 (UPI) -- Moscow has withdrawn its bid to host Expo 2030, saying it was forced to do so by Western nations who are attempting to isolate Russia on the world stage over the war in Ukraine.

Russia's foreign ministry announced its decision to rescind the bid Monday, stating that the expos have become "another victim of the large-scale anti-Russian campaign," which has made the selection process neither fair nor impartial.

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The ministry said it has notified its decision to the Bureau International des Expositions, which confirmed the voluntarily withdrawal of Moscow's candidacy in a brief statement.

"There is no doubt that the pressure on Russia and our partners is another unscrupulous attempt by a number of countries to denigrate our country," the ministry said in a statement.

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"I would like to believe that in the foreseeable future the global exhibition movement will return to its historical roots, when it was engaged in non-political and purely applied activities," it said. "We hope that in the future the necessary conditions will be created for Russian participation in an equal competition for the right to host Expo."

Nations wanting to host the event in 2030 have until Sept. 7 to apply, the Paris-based organization said.

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Russia withdrew its application as democratic nations seek to further punish and isolate it over its invasion of Ukraine. Several international events, organizations and competitions have joined the effort by banning Russia and Russian athletes.

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In early March, Russian and Belarusian athletes were barred from competing at the Beijing Winter Paralympic Games after multiple governments, teams and athletes threatened to withdraw from the competition in protest over Moscow's war.

The Union of European Football Associations this month also declared Russia's bids to host the 2028 and 2031 European championships ineligible and banned the Russian national women's soccer team from competing in this year's championship and qualifying for next year's World Cup.

According to U.N. data, since the war began on Feb. 24, more than 3,800 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and another 6.5 million have fled the country.

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War in Ukraine: Scenes from Kharkiv

A woman eats food given to her by volunteers at a food delivery station run by a Hare Krishna group in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

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