On 26 July, during the World Fencing Championship-2023 in Italy, a duel was held between Ukrainian fencer Olga Kharlan and Russian Anna Smirnova. The Ukrainian athlete won 15:7. However, the IFF withdrew Harlan from the competition because she refused to shake a hand with her opponent Anna. After a 40-minute protest by a Russian athlete, Kharlan was disqualified. The minister of sport of Ukraine, Vadym Gutzeit, said that the World Cup organisers were warned that the Ukrainian team will not shake hands with athletes from the aggressor country.
However, after consideration of the issue, the organisers changed their decision and allowed Olga Kharlan to participate in the competition and perform in the team match. According to a statement from Italian publisher La Repubblica, the Olympic Committee urged the International Fencing Federation to reverse the decision. Moreover, FIE will cancel handshakes between athletes, and participants from Russia and Belarus are not invited to the Olympic competitions.