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Estonia, Lithuania condemn IOC decision to let Russian athletes compete in Paris

by Abbey Fenbert December 9, 2023 2:23 AM 2 min read
Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna at a press conference on Aug. 22, 2023. (Tobias Schwarz / AFP via Getty Images)
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The foreign ministers of Estonia and Lithuania condemned the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, according to social media posts on Dec. 8.

"Allowing Russian athletes participate in the Olympics without a flag will not wash away the blood on their hands," Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said on the platform X.

The IOC announced on Dec. 8 that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to participate in the 2024 Olympics as Individual Neutral Athletes (AIN). The decision came  months after the IOC said it would not invite Russia and Belarus to the Games.

Under the IOC's rules, competitors from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to display their national flags or participate as teams. Athletes who have openly supported the war against Ukraine or served in the military are banned from participating.

Many Ukrainian officials and their allies have called for an outright ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

"Russia enlists sportsmen and women into its genocidal army,"  Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on X after the IOC announced its decision.

"This is not neutrality, this is against everything the Olympics should stand for."

The Russian Federation broke with international tradition at the United Nations on Nov. 21 when it did not support a motion declaring an Olympic Truce for the duration of the 2024 Games. Russia said the decision not to invite Russia and Belarus to the Games was discriminatory.

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