Ukranian medalist pleas for peace

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Ukranian medalist pleas for peace
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 13: Olena Iurkovska of Ukraine celebrates winning the Women's 2.4km Pursuit Sitting Biathlon on Day 2 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics at Whistler Paralympic Park on March 13, 2010 in Whistler, Canada. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
TURIN, ITALY - MARCH 12: Olena Iurkovska of Ukraine competes competes in the Women's 2.5KM - Sitting Cross Country during day two of the Turin 2006 Winter Paralympic Games on March 12, 2006 in Pragelato Plan, Italy. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 07: Biathlete Mykhaylo Tkachenko of Ukraine bears the flag as he enters the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at Fisht Olympic Stadium on March 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 08: Per Kasperi of Sweden celebrates with team mates after scoring his team's first goal during the Preliminary Round Group A match between Canada and Sweden at Shayba Arena on March 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 08: Akira Kano of Japan celebrates winning Gold after the Men's Downhill Sitting during day one of Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on March 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 08: Akira Kano of Japan celebrates winning Gold after the Men's Downhill Sitting during day one of Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on March 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 08: (L to R) Alana Nichols of United States celebrates winning Silver, Anna Schaffelhuber of Germany celebrates winning Gold and Laurie Stephens of United States celebrates winning Bronze after the Women's Downhill Standing during day one of Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on March 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Italy's Christian Lanthaler competes during the Men's Downhill Standing at the XI Paralympic Olympic games, in the Rosa Khutor stadium, near Sochi on March 8, 2014. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 08: Greg Westlake (L) of Canada and Niklas Rakos of Sweden battle for the puck during the Preliminary Round Group A match between Canada and Sweden at Shayba Arena on March 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 08: Thomas Nolte of Germany competes in Mens Downhill Sitting during day one of Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on March 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 08: China compete in the wheelchair curling mixed round robin match between Russia and China at the Ice Cube Curling Center on March 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - MARCH 08: Slovakia compete in the wheelchair curling mixed round robin match between USA and Slovakia at the Ice Cube Curling Center on March 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
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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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