Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made a mistake in allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in international competitions as neutrals.
Source: European Pravda, citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
Quote from the Foreign Ministry: "The Ukrainian side informed the Olympic Committee and international partners about the risks of such a decision. Belarusian and especially Russian athletes often represent sports organizations associated with the armed forces of the Russian Federation. Some of them are on active duty in the Russian military, and some of them wear symbols of Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine on their sport uniforms.
The IOC is planning to allow athletes to compete at international sports arenas who not only sympathize with the murders of Ukrainian women and children, but are likely to be directly involved in these terrible crimes."
Details: The Ministry notes in its statement that Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said that the Kremlin will use every Russian and Belarusian athlete as a weapon in its propaganda warfare.
"Moscow will not be raising white neutral flags at the competitions, as the IOC suggests, but will be demonstrating the triumph of its ability to avoid responsibility for the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II," the statement reads.
The members of the International Olympic Committee Executive Board who made this decision bear responsibility for encouraging Russia and Belarus to continue their armed aggression against Ukraine."
The foreign ministers of Estonia and Lithuania, Margus Tsahkna and Gabrielius Landsbergis, have also criticised the IOC’s decision.
Background: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided that individual athletes from Russia and Belarus would be eligible to compete in the 2024 Olympic Games as neutrals. Teams will not take part. Athletes are also not eligible to compete if they have committed to serving in the Belarusian or Russian armed forces or security services.