Independence plea by Ukrainian medalist in Sochi

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By AP

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Updated: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 07:14:00 EST

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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