International Cat Federation Bans Russian Cats from Competition Following Ukraine Invasion



The International Cat Federation is the latest organization to take a stand against Russia amidst the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The federation — which is also known as FIFé after its French name, Fédération Internationale Féline — issued a statement this week announcing that it would bar cats bred in from Russia and felines belonging to exhibitors living in Russia from future competitions.

FIFé wrote in their statement that its executive board was "shocked and horrified that the army of the Russian Federation invaded the Republic of Ukraine and started a war," adding, "we can all witness the destruction and chaos caused by this unprecedented act of aggression."

In its statement, FIFé shared that it decided on the Russian cat ban because the federation could not "just witness these atrocities and do nothing."

RELATED: 'Like a Bad Dream': Stories of Life Inside Ukraine amid the Russian Invasion



FIFé was first formed in 1949 and hosts over 700 shows each year, where more than 200,000 cats are exhibited, according to its website.

Under the organization's new rules, which are in effect until May, "No cat bred in Russia may be imported and registered in any FIFé pedigree book outside Russia," and "No cat belonging to exhibitors living in Russia may be entered at any FIFé show outside Russia."

Along with establishing new restrictions, FIFé plans to use some of its funds to assist Ukrainian cat breeders and fanciers, the federation shared.

"Our Ukrainian fellow feline fanciers are desperately trying to take care of their cats and other animals in these trying circumstances," FIFé wrote.

RELATED: Ways to Help the People of Ukraine as Russia Launches War

FIFe's new rules come as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues after their forces launched a large-scale invasion on Feb. 24 — the first major land conflict in Europe in decades.

Details of the fighting change by the day, but hundreds of civilians have already been reported dead or wounded, including children. More than a million Ukrainians have also fled, the United Nations says.

"You don't know where to go, where to run, who you have to call. This is just panic," Liliya Marynchak, a 45-year-old teacher in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, told PEOPLE of the moment her city was bombed — one of the numerous accounts of bombardment by the Russians.

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The invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia.

With NATO forces massing in the region around Ukraine, various countries have also pledged aid or military support to the resistance. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for peace talks — so far unsuccessful — while urging his country to fight back.

Putin insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia, and he is acting in the best security interests of his country. Zelenskyy vowed not to bend.

"Nobody is going to break us, we're strong, we're Ukrainians," he told the European Union in a speech in the early days of the fighting, adding, "Life will win over death. And light will win over darkness."

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.