Espreso. Global

IOC issues controversial statement on anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

23 February, 2023 Thursday
02:53

In a statement on the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the IOC emphasizes the need for dialogue between representatives of the warring countries to achieve peace

The statement was published on the International Olympic Committee's official website. 

The IOC reminded that it condemned the war and imposed sanctions against athletes from Russia and Belarus, which helped Russia in its full-scale invasion.

“24 February 2023 marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine with the support of Belarus: one year of brutal warfare, human suffering, killing and destruction. We feel deeply for the Ukrainian people during this cruel war, whose pain and suffering are beyond imagination. On this grim anniversary, the Olympic Movement joins calls for peace and stands ready to make its modest contribution to any peace-building efforts,” the statement reads. 

The IOC added that it has tripled the Solidarity Fund with Ukraine, from which Ukrainian athletes receive funds through the National Olympic Committee.

At the same time, the IOC statement contains a point that indicates that the organization has not abandoned the idea of returning Russians and Belarusians to international sports in a neutral status.

“From the very beginning, starting with the ancient Olympic Games, our mission has always been to promote peace through sport. The IOC remains committed to this mission to unite the entire world in peaceful competition to this day. The most recent examples of such peaceful competition include athletes from South and North Korea, from Israel and Palestine, from Armenia and Azerbaijan and many others. During the Olympic Games, athletes from 206 different National Olympic Committees live together in peace in the Olympic Village. Peace-building efforts need dialogue,” the IOC said. 

They expressed their belief that competing with athletes who respect the Olympic Charter can serve as a catalyst for dialogue, which is always the first step towards peace.

After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the IOC banned athletes from Russia and Belarus from participating in international competitions. However, in January 2023, IOC President Thomas Bach advocated for their participation in the 2024 Olympics in Paris under a neutral flag. For this purpose, Russians and Belarusians were allowed to attend the Asian Games, where they will be able to obtain Olympic licenses.

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