Uman in Ukraine was struck by a missile in a fresh wave of Russian attacks ©Getty Images

The Canoe Sprint Ukrainian Cup has been cancelled during competition because of a Russian missile attack on the host city Uman.

Russia launched a wave of missile strikes on Ukrainian cities today, with at least 19 people, including several children, killed in Uman, a city located in Cherkasy Oblast in central Ukraine.

Uman had been hosting the Canoe Sprint Ukrainian Cup, a selection event for next month's International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Sprint World Cup in the Polish city of Poznań, since Monday (April 24).

Competition was due to conclude tomorrow.

Two-time Olympic medallist Liudmyla Luzan revealed a residential building "next to the hotel where our team is staying" was among those struck in the attack, and had refused to participate in today's 200-metre races because she felt it would be "inappropriate when the city is in mourning", as reported by Ukrainian publication Tribuna.

"International Canoe Federation, do you think it is fair to decide the issue of admission of Russian sports to international competitions?" Luzan asked.

There was no mass refusal to compete in the morning races, according to coaching staff.

The Canoe Federation of Ukraine (UCF) said it held "a few final rounds" this morning to determine the team for the ICF World Cup, insisting "we do not give up".

However, it said it had been forced to cancel the event "in order not to endanger our participants".

The UCF said it had withheld information on starts and results for the Ukrainian Cup in the interests of participants' safety because of "the constant threat of a missile attack", and made a plea to the ICF to maintain an effective ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from its competitions.

"At a time when innocent Ukrainian children die, do you want to see Russian athletes at international competitions?" it asked.

"Do you want to start with them in one go?

"Do you want to stand on the same pedestal with murderers?"

Ukraine's Ministry of Youth and Sports revealed that a video from the country's canoeists to urge the ICF to maintain its current stance is planned.

Two-time Olympic medallist Liudmyla Luzan of Ukraine refused to compete in the final races at the Canoe Sprint Ukrainian Cup because of the Russian attack on Uman ©Getty Images
Two-time Olympic medallist Liudmyla Luzan of Ukraine refused to compete in the final races at the Canoe Sprint Ukrainian Cup because of the Russian attack on Uman ©Getty Images

The ICF condemned the attack on Uman.

"We are obviously very concerned and appalled by reports of the Russian attack, but are very relieved none of our athletes were injured," a spokesperson told insidethegames.

"The loss of civilian life is a further tragedy in a war that has already caused so much distress."

The UCF has revealed that its President Igor Slivinskyi recently held a meeting with National Olympic Committee of Ukraine President and Sports Minister Vadym Gutzeit and ICF President Thomas Konietzko of Germany in the latest of a series of discussions over Russia and Belarus' participation in the sport.

Athletes and officials from both countries have been suspended from competitions by the ICF since March last year because of the war in Ukraine, and the issue is expected to be discussed at the next Board of Directors meeting.

The International Olympic Committee last month eased its recommendations on the non-participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes, clearing the way for them to compete as neutrals provided they do not support the war in Ukraine and are not affiliated to the military.

International Federations have been divided in their response to the updated guidance.