Sat | Jun 3, 2023

Ukraine steps up efforts to exclude Russia from Olympics

Published:Friday | February 3, 2023 | 11:32 AM
A woman passes by the Olympic rings at the City Hall in Paris, on July 25, 2022. Latvia is threatening to boycott next year’s Paris Olympics if athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus are allowed to take part after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly, File)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine stepped up efforts Friday to lobby international sports leaders against Russian participation in next year's Paris Olympics as indications mount that the games could see the biggest boycott since the Cold War.

A meeting of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee did not commit to a boycott but approved plans to consult with and persuade sports officials around the world over the next two months.

The committee members voted for “consultations on preventing the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in all international competitions and a possible boycott.”

The International Olympic Committee is pushing to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete at the 2024 Paris Games.

They would take part without their national flags or anthems as “neutral athletes.”

The IOC, which previously recommended excluding Russians and Belarusians from world sports on safety grounds, argues that it cannot discriminate against them purely based on citizenship, citing comments from United Nations officials.

Ukraine wants Russia and Belarus to be banned from the Olympics entirely.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said any neutral flag would be “stained with blood.”

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