Russian junior karting champion suspended after making ‘Nazi salute’ on podium

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The 15-year-old Russian drives for the Swedish team Ward Racing and competes under the Italian flag. He secured first place in the 11-15 bracket at the FIA Karting World Championships in Algarve, Portugal. The young Russian provoked outrage when he beat his chest twice and raised his arm in what appeared to be Nazi salute while standing on the podium.

The driver then broke into uncontrollable laughter as the Italian national anthem continued to play in the background.

Ward Racing announced in the last hour it would terminate the Russian’s contract as a result of his actions, which they described as “an unacceptable violation of the ethical and moral sports codex.”

The team said in a statement: “Ward Racing accordingly condemns the personal actions of pilot Artem Severyukhin during the award ceremony on April 10, 2022 in the strongest possible terms, as it considers them a manifestation of unsportsmanlike behaviour, an unacceptable violation of the ethical and moral sports codex.

“With this statement, Ward Racing expresses its opinion, as well as the opinion of all athletes and staff of the Ward Racing team.

“On the basis of these considerations, Ward Racing sees no possibility for continued cooperation with Artem Severyukhin and will proceed with terminating his racing contract.”

Ward Racing added that they stood with the international community in “condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” and expressed their solidarity with Ukrainians “suffering because of this unprovoked and horrific attack.”

They added that as Swedish citizens they were proud of their country’s historic decision to send weapons to Ukraine.

The Russian’s actions provoked a storm of outrage on social media, as users vented their disgust.

Redditor Captain Woodrow-f call wrote: “Women and Children are being slaughtered by demons [en masse] – but hell yeah, let’s make a good joke about it. Unreal…just unreal.”

While Twitter user Sara said: “What is happening in the world now?

“Artem Severyukhin, a Russian, showed a nazi salute at the World Karting Championship and laughing his ass off???”

Fan of Democracy commented: “Artem Severyukhin should be stripped of his title/prizes & banned for 5 years.

“He’s 15yo – his parents must be investigated!”

However, there were those who believed people were overreacting and that all the Russian driver was guilty of was a sill boyish prank.

Tommy Teasdale commented: “He is laughing right after. He does not look serious.

“I don’t think that was done with nefarious intentions.

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“The boy needs a scolding. Nothing more.”

Vladimir Putin has claimed his invasion of Ukraine was necessary in order to “de-nazify” the country and prevent the “genocide” of Russians living in the country by the Neo-Nazi regime of President Volodymr Zelensky.

The ridiculous claims were made despite the fact that Mr Zelensky is himself Jewish.

Additionally, the ultra-nationalist Ukrainian party Svoboda has just one seat in the parliament.

Putin’s regime has also been funding far-right parties in Europe, as part of its attempts to destabilise European politics.

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