Poland and Baltic States issue joint statement against return of Russians and Belarusians to Olympics
Sports ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland opposed participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 and 2026 Olympic Games
This is said in their joint statement, Ministry of Education, Science and Sports of Lithuania reports.
"At a time when free and democratic countries unite their forces to increase support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia‘s war of aggression supported by its ally Belarus and impose more sanctions on Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, the IOC launches the search for special forms of participation for athletes from Russia and Belarus in international sports competitions including the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024, allowing sport to be used to legitimise and distract attention from Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine," the appeal said.
They stated that attempts to bring athletes back to the competition under the veil of neutrality legitimise political decisions and widespread propaganda of these countries. In addition, it makes it possible to use sports as a factor that distracts from illegal aggression against Ukraine.
"We highly appreciate all international sport organisations and federations that have removed athletes and representatives of Russia and Belarus from international competitions and organisations and we urge them not to change their position until Russia and Belarus stop their aggression against Ukraine," ministers said.
On January 27, IOC chief Thomas Bach said he supports the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 Olympics, despite Ukraine's threats to boycott the Games.
On January 29, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that he had written a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron over the possible admission of Russia to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
On January 30, Advisor to the Head of the President's Office Mykhailo Podolyak said that the IOC, which supports the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 Olympics, is a promoter of Russia's war against Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says that if Russians are allowed to participate in the 2024 Olympics, representatives of the Russian army will be able to compete at the Games in Paris.
Wladimir Klitschko said that the reinstatement of Russian and Belarusian athletes to the Olympic Games is a "betrayal of the Olympic spirit" and a "monumental mistake"
Former coach of the Ukrainian national football team Andriy Shevchenko has appealed to the IOC and called for the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions
On February 1, the International Olympic Committee announced that it would maintain the sanctions against Russian and Belarusian athletes that were approved in December 2022.