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Nearly a decade ago, Putin received a taekwondo black belt. A global organization has taken it away.

World Taekwondo Federation President Choue Chung-won gives an honorary taekwondo black belt and uniform to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Seoul in 2013. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti Kremlin Press Service/AP)

In the blink of an eye, Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013 reached the highest level one can achieve in taekwondo. Though it was just honorary, receiving the ninth-degree black belt shot him past the level achieved by martial artist and movie star Chuck Norris, who has an eighth-degree black belt.

Now, just as quickly, World Taekwondo has stripped Putin of the honor as Russia continues its assault on Ukraine.

“World Taekwondo strongly condemns the brutal attacks on innocent lives in Ukraine, which go against the World Taekwondo vision of ‘Peace is More Precious than Triumph’ and the World Taekwondo values of respect and tolerance,” the organization said in a statement Monday.

The organization also said it would not allow Russian or Belarusian flags to be waved or anthems to be played at its events — and its tournaments, along with those of the European Taekwondo Union, will not be held in Russia. “World Taekwondo’s thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and we hope for a peaceful and immediate end to this war,” the statement added.

World Taekwondo is among several international sports organizations to strip Putin of the honors awarded to him over the years. On Sunday, the International Judo Federation said it was suspending Putin, a judo black belt, as its honorary president and ambassador. FINA, the international organization governing water sports, on Tuesday withdrew the prestigious FINA Order it awarded Putin in 2014.

Putin, black belt in judo, suspended as honorary president of International Judo Federation

The penalties on the Russian president are among a flood of actions being taken by international sports organizations to condemn the invasion of Ukraine. FIFA, the world’s governing soccer body, and its European counterparts on Monday suspended Russians from international competition, as the International Olympic Committee recommended that sporting organizations not allow Russian and Belarusian players to participate in sporting events. Organizations governing hockey, ice skating, tennis and other sports have taken varying measures against the country.

Putin has long touted his involvement in sports and projected a strongman image. Photos have circulated of the Russian leader playing hockey, hunting shirtless and taking opponents down on the judo mat. In particular, Putin has broadcast his judo skills — having produced videos and written books about the martial art form — even as some have questioned if he’s actually any good.

Is Vladimir Putin a judo fraud?

World Taekwondo in 2013 awarded Putin the black belt “in recognition of President Putin’s work in developing taekwondo in Russia,” the organization said at the time.

In November, former president Donald Trump was also given the honor of the highest-level black belt, the New York Post reported.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in an address to the nation on Sept. 21, framing the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that seeks to use Ukraine as a tool to “divide and destroy Russia.” Follow our live updates here.

The fight: A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Annexation referendums: Staged referendums, which would be illegal under international law, are set to take place from Sept. 23 to 27 in the breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. Another staged referendum will be held by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson starting Friday.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can help support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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