Ukraine Calls for Nepal to Ban Russian Climbers from Himalayas

Nepal has issued permits to nine Russian climbers despite calls from Ukrainian diplomats and mountaineers for them to be banned after the Russian invasion.

A diplomatic note from the Ukrainian embassy in Delhi to Nepal’s government said numerous international sports federations barred Russian athletes from climbing the Himalayas.

“Taking into consideration the above, the esteemed Nepalese side is kindly requested to ban Russian mountaineering teams until the end of [the] Russian invasion into Ukraine,” the note said.

However, officials in Nepal say they will issue permits to anyone abiding by the government’s rules and regulations. 

Taranath Adhikari, the director-general of Nepal’s tourism department, said that they did not make changes in their policies so far.

“We believe our mountains are global assets, and any countries’ citizens willing to visit them for the attainment of peace should be allowed to do so – as long as they do it within our legal provisions,” Adhikari said.

The Ukrainian embassy in Delhi said it made its request to the Nepalese embassy in the Indian capital on March 21. Nepalese embassy officials, however,  told the BBC they had received no communication on the issue.

Irina Galay, who described herself as the first Ukrainian woman to ascend Everest and K2, the world’s highest and second-highest mountains, wrote on Instagram that Russians should not have the privilege of climbing ‘as long as war is continued’.

“No peace, no climb… Hopefully, soon we will have peace and climb,” Galay said in her Instagram post.

Oleg Ivanchenko, a Ukrainian mountain guide, planned to climb Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse this spring with two of his clients but canceled plans after the Russian invasion.

“I know some people say mountains are sacred and it is not a place for politics, but we expect support from Russian mountaineers as well, and they can protest – or at least not climb, and stay in Russia,” he says.

Nepal’s Department of Tourism has issued permits for 18 expedition teams to climb mountains above 6,000m this spring season.


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