Zelenskyy criticizes IOC: “Banners of Russian athletes stained with blood”

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Just a few days ago, the IOC drew attention to a possible comeback by Russian athletes. Athletes from Russia and Belarus can continue to hope for participation in the Olympic Games in Paris. However, the athletes from these countries will start as “neutral athletes”. There were consultations with associations and athletes’ representatives. A “large majority” has therefore spoken out in favor of a return of Russian and Belarusian athletes. One would like to examine a way for the participation of the athletes of both countries “under strict conditions”.

The focus is on the offer by the Asian umbrella organization to let Russian and Belarusian athletes compete in its competitions. This could also include Olympic qualifying competitions. But they must respect the IOC charter and not actively support the war in Ukraine.

Now Volodymyr Zelenskyj has spoken up. He criticized the IOC’s move in a video message on Twitter: “I invite Mr. Bach (IOC President, note) to Bakhmut, where he can see with his own eyes that neutrality does not exist,” said the Ukrainian president. “It is obvious that every neutral banner of Russian athletes is stained with blood,” said Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy also stressed that it was not possible not to be disappointed with the “IOC President’s attitude”. There were several discussions between Zelenskyj and Bach. The Ukrainian head of state was never able to see “how he wants to protect sport from war propaganda by allowing Russian athletes to compete internationally.”

The Ukrainian sports minister threatened on Thursday to boycott Ukraine at the Olympic Games in Paris. But that, according to Bach, “would not be consistent with our mission.” The IOC President emphasized: “We know the view of Ukraine, which not only wants to isolate Russia as a state, but also pursues the total isolation of all Russians.”

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