President Vladimir Putin expressed hope that the Winter Paralympic Games opening in Sochi on Friday would somewhat defuse international tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
"I hope the Paralympics will at least cool off passions over Ukraine a little," Putin told International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven at an exhibition at a Sochi museum.
Putin said he met with the head of the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee a day earlier.
Everything is in your capable hands, Craven said.
"Most importantly, it shouldn't affect the athletes, so that they are able to focus on their competitions," Putin said.
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