Ukraine allies slam IOC, say ‘not a single reason’ to lift olympics ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus

There is “not a single reason” to lift the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Olympics, said Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics nation on Monday as they reiterated their call to maintain the restrictions. Their statement comes as the IOC (International Olympic Committee) executive board prepares for a meeting in Lausanne. The meeting that begins on Tuesday will discuss the issue of the Russian athletes. 

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Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the statement which is co-signed by Ukraine, the target of Russian aggression say “there exists not a single reason to move away from the exclusion regime for Russian and Belarusian athletes set by the IOC more than a year ago.”

The nations further added that they were of the opinion that “now is not the time to consider the opening up of a pathway for Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to the Olympic Games in any status.”

In January, as per AFP, the IOC said that while it wants to continue its ban “on flag, anthem, colours or any other identifications” from Russia and Belarus, it was seeking a pathway to let their athletes compete provided that they have “not actively supported the war in Ukraine”.

The statement was made as the Paris Olympics loom on the horizon, not even 500 days away.

War-torn Ukraine’s allies, however, were not pleased by the IOC’s stand and slammed the international body for its efforts to bring Russians and Belarusians into international competitions. As per the AFP report, Estonia even brought up the idea of a boycott of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, if Russians are given the opportunity to compete.

(With inputs from agencies)

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