Sergey Karjakin Twitter Feed Praising Putin, Russia Prompts Chess Ban

Russian chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin was banned from competition for six months on Monday due to his unwavering support on social media for Russia amid the conflict in Ukraine.

As the invasion enters day 26, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) announced that "the statements of Sergey Karjakin, which, by his own choice and presentation, can be connected to the game of chess, damage the reputation of the game of chess and/or FIDE."

Karjakin's statements on Twitter have praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and the military actions taken in Ukraine since the initial invasion on February 24.

As the war continued, some began to call out Karjakin for his public statements of support. In a Twitter thread, Karjakin said, "Many people ask if I regret my public support of the special operation? After all, I have already lost invitations to Western tournaments and may lose an invitation to the candidates tournament."

"My answer is simple," he added. "I am on the side of Russia and my President. No matter what happens, I will support my country in any situation without thinking for a second!"

In addition to his outward support of Russian forces, Karjakin also posted about the United States, sharing a tweet from Chinese government official Lijian Zhao and wrote, "Many thanks to our Chinese friends for telling the truth."

The announcement of the 32-year-old chess player's sanction from competition did not come as a surprise to Karjakin, who wrote in a Telegram post on Monday, "An expected, but no less shameful decision by FIDE. All sports selections have been trampled, the basic principle that sport is out of politics has been trampled."

Russian teams and players have been removed from several big-time sporting events in recent weeks as boycotts and sanctions ramp up. FIFA, the governing body for soccer, and the International Ice Hockey Federation announced that they were banning Russian teams from competing, and Electronic Arts (EA Sports) set out to remove Russian teams from its upcoming video games.

FIDE now joins the ranks as they found Karjakin guilty of breaking the "FIDE Code of Ethics, and is sanctioned to a worldwide ban of six months from participating as a player in any FIDE rated chess competition," the announcement read.

Alas, FIDE disgraced not me, but themselves," Karjakin added in his Telegram post. "And now we can all be convinced that the international sports officials, who have been banning Russian Olympians in recent years with or without cause, have reached chess, which has always been far from this lawlessness."

"I am a patriot of my country, and only secondly - an athlete. If my thoughts return to the situation when I supported the President of Russia, the people and the army, then I would have done exactly the same! I do not regret anything," Karjakin wrote.

Newsweek reached out to International Chess Federation for comment.

This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

World Chess Tournament 2018 - First Move
Sergey Karjakin was put on a six-month ban from competition after posting statements in support of Russia and Vladimir Putin. In this photo, Sergei Karjakin is seen playing the first round at the First Move Ceremony during the World Chess Tournament on March 10, 2018 in Berlin. Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for World Chess