Ivan Kuliak reportedly faces a one-year ban from gymnastics after displaying the Russian war symbol "Z" on his vest at the FIG World Cup event in Doha earlier this month ©YouTube

Russian gymnast Ivan Kuliak faces a potential one-year ban from the sport after displaying the controversial “Z” symbol linked to the war in Ukraine, according to Russian Gymnastics Federation coordinator Valentina Rodionenko.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) began disciplinary action against Kuliak earlier this month, following what the organisation labelled "shocking behaviour" at the Gymnastics World Cup in Doha.

Kuliak was pictured on the podium for the men's parallel bars event, displaying the letter "Z".

The letter Z has been seen on Russian military vehicles and artillery during the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Russia's Ministry of Defence has reportedly claimed the Z symbol means "For Victory".

Rodionenko told Russia's official state news agency TASS that Kuliak could be given a one-year ban from the sport, with the decision expected to be made by the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation by the end of March.

Rodionenko claimed she also faces a similar sanction as the head of the delegation at the event, along with coach Igor Kalabushkin.

The official claimed the country had been "humiliated" by the decision to bar Russian athletes from competitions, as a response to the invasion of Ukraine.

"It was proposed to disqualify me as the head of the delegation, leading the coach Kalabushkin and the athlete himself, for one year," Rodionenko told TASS.

"The International Federation made this decision under pressure from the Ukrainians, and some of them even advocated our lifelong disqualification.

"Lawyers are working with us now, who hope that they will recapture us, but I myself doubt this outcome of the case.

"Ukrainian athletes in Doha violated all the rules of the competition, they went to the platform wrapped in their national flag, refused to participate in award ceremonies if our girls took part in them.

"I want to say that I have never experienced such humiliation in my entire very long coaching career I didn’t experience anything like that even after our boycott of the Olympic Games in the USA in 1984.

"In Qatar, they didn’t humiliate us, they humiliated our country, he replied that he could do nothing about it."

Russian officials have claimed the hearing will take place between March 28 to April 1 and be held online. 

The nationalist Z symbol was also on display during a pro-war rally organised by Russian President Vladimir Putin at Luzhniki Stadium on Friday (March 18).

Several Russian Olympians were seen in kit displaying the letter, including gymnasts Dina and Arina Averina.

Photos reportedly posted by the gymnasts on Telegram after the event saw the Z symbol blurred.

It has also been reported that Kuliak attended the rally. 

Figure skaters Nikita Katsalapov and Victoria Sinitsina, Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, who all won medals at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, were also seen in kit displaying the symbol.

Cross-country skier Alexander Bolshunov, winner of three gold medals at Beijing 2022, was also seen on stage, but was reportedly not wearing the symbol which refers to the Russian military.

insidethegames has contacted FIG for a comment.