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

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 through reside video hyperlink

Russian participation within the Paris 2024 Olympics “can’t be lined 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 anticipated 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 through reside video hyperlink, Zelensky informed 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 lined up with some pretended neutrality or a white flag, as a result of Russia is now a rustic that stains all the pieces with blood – even the white flag.

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

Russian sports activities minister Oleg Matytsin mentioned calls to ban their athletes from the Olympics had been unacceptable.

In his opening deal with, Zelensky informed the delegation – which included ministers and senior representatives from nations together with France, Germany, Poland, the US 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 businesses”.

“If the Olympic sports activities had been killings and missile strikes, then you recognize which nationwide group 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 recommended Russian and Belarusian athletes might 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 might boycott the Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete.

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

“Now we see an undisguised want to destroy the unity of worldwide sports activities and the worldwide Olympic motion, to make sport a way of stress to resolve political points,” Russian minister Matytsin informed state information company Tass.

“It is a direct interference of ministers within the actions of unbiased worldwide sports activities organisations, an try to dictate the situations for the participation of athletes in worldwide competitions, which is totally unacceptable.”

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 informed the summit.

“There’s hazard right here that the world needs to maneuver on and again to enterprise as ordinary. Nevertheless, the scenario in Ukraine has not modified for the reason that IOC’s preliminary determination 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.”