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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Team Cancels U.S. Volleyball Tour

RENO, Nevada -- The Russian national women's volleyball team canceled an exhibition tour of the United States, citing the widespread opposition in Russia to the NATO bombings.

"We have a fax from the Russian national volleyball federation that informed us that because of the events in Kosovo and the violence at the U.S. Embassy in Russia, they would not be able to send their team over here,'' Craig Barker, a sponsor official, said Monday.

The tour matching t eams competing for spots in the next Olympic Games was to begin in Reno on April 5.

Valentin Joukov, president of the Volleyball Federation of Russia, notified the USA National Team of the decision on Monday, according to a statement.

"Please do believe that only the unforseen circumstances and the present situation make it impossible for us to send our ladies' team to your country,'' Joukov said in a fax to U.S. Olympic officials in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Lorene Graves of USA Volleyball said the Russians indicated "they are so opposed to NATO and United States bombing of Yugoslavia, [that] there wouldn't be any cultural or sports exchanges between the two nations allowed.''