President Vladimir Putin has granted the banned Russian chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin a medal of the order “For Merit to the Fatherland”.

Karjakin is currently under suspension by the international governing body of Chess for publicly supporting Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The medal of the order “For Merit to the Fatherland”, is a distinction awarded to Russians who have made outstanding achievements in their fields, according to an official portal for legal information.

Sergey Karjakin, who challenged Magnus Carlsen for the world title in 2016, is an avid Putin supporter and has furiously defended Russia’s decision to send troops into Ukraine on social media.

His comments prompted the International Chess Federation (FIDE) to suspend him from competition for up to six months for breaching its code of ethics in March.

The FIDE has already stripped hosts Moscow of the Chess Olympiad and FIDE Congress later this year and banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing in tournaments under their respective flags.

Karjakin, who was born in Crimea and represented Ukraine until 2009, called the decision to suspend him from competing shameful.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes around the globe in various sports.

The athletes from two countries have been banned from football, tennis, swimming, and F1 among others.

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