Ukraine will boycott competitions with Russian and Belarusian athletes
Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers has passed the decision that Ukrainian athletes will not participate in tournaments hosting athletes from Russia or Belarus
Ukraine will boycott tournaments hosting athletes from Russia or Belarus - government decision. This was announced by a Ukrainian Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, Oleh Nemchinov on the United News nation telethon, according to Suspilne.
The protocol decision made by the Government of Ukraine was submitted at the suggestion of the Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine and the President of the NOC of Ukraine Vadym Huttsait. This decision applies to all competitions, including the qualifying events for the 2024 Olympics.
"At the government meeting, a protocol decision was made on the proposal of my colleague Huttsait that we participate in the qualifying competitions [for the 2024 Olympics] only where there are no Russians. Accordingly, participation outside these criteria may be grounds for depriving the federation of national status," Nemchinov said.
This decision is the Ukrainian government's response to the IOC's updated recommendations regarding the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in competitions. According to the decision of the IOC Executive Board, federations are recommended to return athletes from Russia and Belarus with a neutral status. However, only in individual competitions, not in team events.
There is no detailed explanation of how the Ukrainian government's decision will work. Individual and team competitions can be held at the same venue - it is unknown whether the ban will apply to the entire tournament.
Oleh Nemchinov also added that athletes should not think about their careers in the context of a boycott of the competition, but about their lives.
"What should the athletes themselves do? You know, I don't wish on anyone something like this... Yesterday I attended another funeral of a good friend of mine, who had spent more than 20 years in athletics and was killed in the Kharkiv direction. He was a father to three children. He volunteered for the war. And he did not serve in the kitchen, so to speak. He served in combat units. So I want to say to our fellow athletes who are worried that because of the IOC's measures and the admission of Russians or Belarusians to the competition, and therefore Ukrainians will not be able to participate, that their careers will be ruined or something else. But at least you and your children will keep your lives," Nemchinov summarized.
On March 28, the IOC Executive Committee held a meeting, but did not decide on the admission of athletes from Russia and Belarus to the Olympics, although it recommended that the federations allow them to participate under certain conditions.
Ukraine’s Minister of Youth and Sports Vadym Huttsait called the IOC's permission to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete under international federations a victory for Ukraine.
Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said that the criteria for admission of Russians and Belarusians to international competitions announced by the IOC "are unacceptable for the Russian Olympic Committee."