WWE terminates broadcast deal in Russia in wake of Ukraine invasion

WWE announced Thursday it has pulled its content from Russian airwaves and streaming in the wake of the country's invasion of Ukraine.

In a news release, the professional wrestling promotion said it has "terminated" its rights deal with Russian television broadcaster Match, as well as shut down the streaming WWE Network in Russia "effective immediately." The yanking of WWE programming in the country will also include the highly anticipated WrestleMania 38 next month.

"The move eliminates access in Russia to any WWE programming, including the company's weekly Raw, SmackDown and NXT shows, its on-demand library, and all of its premium live events, including WrestleMania38," the release stated.

Russia launched a military invasion of Ukraine, its neighbor to the southwest, on Feb. 24. The country is facing sanctions from the United States and other major countries worldwide. Russia President Vladimir Putin has claimed without evidence that the invasion is due to genocide and Nazism occurring in Ukraine and the liberation of independent republics at war with Ukraine.