Ukraine's sports minister sports minister comments on proposal to let Russian, Belarusian athletes compete at Olympics

26 January, 06:56 PM
Ukraine competes against Russian and Belarusian athletes at international competitions (Photo:Вадим Гутцайт via Facebook)

Ukraine competes against Russian and Belarusian athletes at international competitions (Photo:Вадим Гутцайт via Facebook)

Ukraine is ready to boycott the Olympic Games if the International Olympic Committee persists with the idea of allowing citizens of aggressor states to take part, according to Vadym Gutzeit, Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine.

Gutzeit, who is also the President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, expressed his position on Facebook on Jan. 26, reacting to a statement by the International Olympic Committee on the possible admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes to the competition.

In his post, Gutzeit said his statement was actually a description of the situation in the Olympic Movement in connection with the full-scale Russian aggression with the help of Belarus, which began during the Olympic Truce.

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"In the framework of further consultations organized by the IOC, unfortunately, the issue of the admission of Russians and Belarusians was raised by most NOCs,” he said.

“Ukraine and some partner states that took the floor oppose this until the end of the Russian aggression. This is a matter of principle for the entire Ukrainian sports community. The president of our country and the entire society support us in this.”

According to the minister, some international federations were outraged by the IOC's attempts to promote the return of Russians and Belarusians. Their leaders ignored invitations to the Olympic summit and stated their position at the relevant IOC consultations.

Gutzeit called this situation unacceptable for Ukraine and promised to appeal to all international organizations that can influence the situation and whose opinions can be taken into account by the IOC members.

"Our position is unchanged: as long as the war in Ukraine continues, Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be present at international competitions," he said.

“If we are not listened to, I do not rule out the possibility that we will boycott and refuse to participate in the Olympics.”

Earlier, during talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that athletes from the aggressor state have no place at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

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