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Ukraine attacks Olympics chief over Russian, Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024

Ukraine attacks Olympics chief over Russian, Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024

‘Using sports to whitewash war crimes is sickening,’ says Ukraine’s foreign minister.
Ukraine has warned international sports bodies against allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in international competitions — including the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“Since February, Russia has killed 184 Ukrainian athletes … Using sports to whitewash war crimes is sickening,” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, tweeted on Thursday night.

Kuleba was apparently responding to remarks by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who said earlier this week that the international sport community should “explore ways to overcome this dilemma,” whereby athletes are prohibited from participating only because of their passport.

“The participation of athletes in sports events can only be on sporting merit and with those athletes who respect the rules of sport. We cannot allow governments to decide on political grounds who can participate,” Bach said, speaking after the three-day IOC board meeting in Lausanne.

“This would put the international sports model at risk, and we will never accept that,” Bach said, adding that “the question of the participation of athletes is very different from the question of sanctions for their government.”

In February, after Russia began its full-scale war on Ukraine, the IOC board recommended banning Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from participation in international competitions, including the Olympic Games.

Last month, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) voted to kick out Russia and Belarus from the governing body.

Bach also referred to recent remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron, who said last month that sport “should not be politicized.”

“Specifically mentioning the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris 2024, he [Macron] underlined that such major events are meant to allow athletes from all countries, sometimes including countries at war, to live their sport,” the IOC’s statement says.
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