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Bubka: Ukraine Olympic officials and IOC agreed black armbands were not in line with rules

Police officers rest next to Ukraine's parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Ferocious street battles between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital have left dozens dead and hundreds wounded in the past few days, raising fears that the ex-Soviet nation, whose loyalties are split between Russia and the West, is in an uncontrollable spiral of violence. (AP Photo/Petro Zadorozhnyy)

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Police officers rest next to Ukraine's parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Ferocious street battles between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital have left dozens dead and hundreds wounded in the past few days, raising fears that the ex-Soviet nation, whose loyalties are split between Russia and the West, is in an uncontrollable spiral of violence. (AP Photo/Petro Zadorozhnyy)

SOCHI, Russia - Ukrainian Olympic chief Sergei Bubka said he has "great sympathy" with the desire of his athletes to wear black armbands to remember those killed in the political unrest in Kyiv.

But he says it was agreed "after consultation with the IOC" that wearing armbands would not be in line with the Olympic Charter.

"Both parties agreed that another way of allowing Ukraine athletes to mark their respects should be found," he said, adding that athletes on the team had observed a minute of silence in the Olympic Village and issued statements or gave interviews about the crisis.

Bubka, a pole vault great, issued a statement Thursday following "erroneous reports" that he had prevented athletes from wearing armbands. The International Olympic Committee denied that it had received a request from the Ukrainians to wear armbands during the games.

Ukrainian skier Bogdana Matsotska withdrew from the Sochi Olympics in response to the deaths of anti-government protesters in Ukraine.

Bubka has urged Ukrainian athletes to remain in Sochi as a sign of unity. But he has also said he respects the rights of athletes to make their own decision.

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