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Leaders of Baltic countries expect cancellation of decision to allow Russian athletes compete at Olympics

Monday, 11 December 2023, 17:11
Leaders of Baltic countries expect cancellation of decision to allow Russian athletes compete at Olympics
Stock photo: Getty Images

Three Presidents of the Baltic countries have stated on 11 December that they are waiting for the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes compete at the 2024 Olympics as neutral participants to be cancelled.

Source: European Pravda with reference to the TV and radio company LRT

"This is a very disappointing decision, and I’m still hoping that it may be reconsidered, that it can be corrected," said Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.


"We all see the reaction of different federations, and I think that Olympic principles have nothing in common with the terror, killings or destruction. So it is very unpleasant to see such decisions now, during the critical stage of the war in Ukraine," he added.

Estonian President Alar Karis also stated that he considered the decision of the IOC unacceptable, "both as a citizen and a person who loves sports".

Edgars Rinkēvičs, President of Latvia, said that this decision undermines "some of the key principles of the Olympic movement".

"I think if nothing changes, it will be very hard to see Ukrainian or Latvian athletes there. But these are, of course, the decisions that should be made by the government and sports communities in each country, and it definitely must be well-coordinated and thought through jointly with countries, which share the same point of view, including Ukraine, the Baltic countries and other European countries dissatisfied with these decisions," he explained.

Earlier, the IOC recommended allowing separate Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Olympics in Paris under a neutral flag provided that they do not actively support the war against Ukraine and are not connected with Russian security structures and the national team. The demonstration of Russian and Byelorussian flags and other state symbols in the official sites of the Olympics is not allowed either. Official representatives of Russia and Belarus will not be invited to the Olympics.

The Ministry of Sports of Russia was outraged by these conditions and complained about the discrimination of Russian athletes.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry considers the decision of the IOC erroneous.

Foreign Ministers of Estonia and Lithuania Margus Tsahkna and Gabrielius Landsbergis also criticised the decision of the IOC.

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