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Paris Olympics 2024: Russian participation ‘cannot be coated up by white flag’ – Ukraine president

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Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to a summit of 30 nations via video link, with UK culture secretary Lucy Frazer sat in the foreground
Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to the summit by way of stay video hyperlink

Russian participation within the Paris 2024 Olympics “can’t be coated up with fake neutrality or a white flag”, Ukraine president Volodymr Zelensky says.

Zelensky was talking at a summit of 36 nations on Friday to debate Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation in subsequent 12 months’s Video games.

The summit was chaired by UK Tradition Secretary Lucy Frazer.

A collective assertion is predicted to be agreed within the coming days.

The summit was referred to as after the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) mentioned it was “exploring a pathway” for athletes from the 2 nations to compete as neutrals.

That transfer has been criticised amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Talking by way of stay video hyperlink, Zelensky instructed the delegation: “Whereas Russia kills and terrorises, representatives of the terrorist state haven’t any place at sports activities and Olympic competitions.

“And it can’t be coated up with some pretended neutrality or a white flag, as a result of Russia is now a rustic that stains all the things with blood – even the white flag.

“It have to be recognised. And this have to be recognised, specifically, on the stage of the Worldwide Olympic Committee.”

In his opening tackle, Zelensky instructed the delegation – which included ministers and senior representatives from nations together with France, Germany, Poland, america and Canada – that 228 Ukrainian athletes and coaches had died since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

He referred to as for the Olympic motion to be “safeguarded”, noting that “many Russian athletes are related to the sports activities golf equipment of the Russian military and safety state companies”.

“If the Olympic sports activities have been killings and missile strikes, then you recognize which nationwide staff would occupy the primary place,” he mentioned.

He later added: “If, God forbid, the Olympic rules are destroyed and Russian athletes are allowed to take part in any competitions or the Olympic Video games, it is only a matter of time earlier than the terrorist state forces them to play together with the battle propaganda.”

In January, the IOC steered Russian and Belarusian athletes may compete underneath impartial flags in Paris, saying “no athlete must be prevented from competing simply due to their passport”.

Ukraine’s sports activities minister Vadym Guttsait has mentioned the nation may boycott the Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete.

A lot of different nations have already voiced their opposition to the potential inclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes.

On Thursday, the IOC urged Ukraine to drop threats of boycotting the Video games in Paris.

In a letter to Guttsait, which has been seen by the BBC, IOC president Thomas Bach mentioned feedback from Ukrainian officers suggesting permitting Russian and Belarusian athletes would promote the battle are “defamatory”.

“Russia has destroyed Ukrainian sporting infrastructure and stopped alternatives for Ukrainian athletes,” Frazer instructed the summit.

“There’s hazard right here that the world needs to maneuver on and again to enterprise as regular. Nonetheless, the state of affairs in Ukraine has not modified because the IOC’s preliminary resolution final February on banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from competitors.

“So long as Putin continues his battle, Russia and Belarus should not be allowed to compete on the world stage or be represented on the Olympics.”

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