Paralympics News

Canada's Paralympians in Sochi despite Ukraine conflict

The Canadian Paralympic Committee is monitoring the armed conflict in Ukraine to ensure Canada's athletes remain safe at the 2014 Paralympic Games in nearby Sochi, Russia.

Security at 2014 Games 'top of mind,' team organizers say

Alpine skier Alexandra Starker, right, leads a crew of Canadian arrivals on Monday in Sochi for the 2014 Paralympic Games. Canadian athletes will compete despite heightened conflict in nearby Ukraine, the Canadian Paralympic Committee says. (Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee)

Canada's Paralympic athletes continue to arrive in Sochi even as a crisis unfolds in nearby Ukraine.

A spokesman for the Canadian Paralympic Committee says the organization continues to monitor the situation but has no plans to back out now.

Martin Richard says the goal remains to place among the top three nations in the gold medal count.

The Paralympic Games are set for March 7 to 16.

Russia's troops have moved into Ukraine and the military has seized the Crimean peninsula, west of Sochi on the Black Sea.

Sochi is only 475 kilometres from the Crimean regional capital, Simferopol.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird also says Canada won't withdraw its athletes from Sochi.

Baird says he doesn't want them to have to pay the price for Russia's intervention.

For now, Richard says Canada's Paralympic committee will be watching things closely.

"Security of our team is always top of mind and we continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine and work very closely with government officials," Richard said in an email Sunday.

The International Paralympic Committee, meanwhile, has expressed hope that the situation could be resolved peacefully.

The Olympic Truce is a United Nations resolution that asks warring parties to cease hostilities during Olympic events.

With files from The Associated Press