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Minister: Ukrainian athletes to boycott joint competitions with Russians, Belarusians

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 31, 2023 10:03 AM 2 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

The Ukrainian government has decided that Ukrainian athletes must boycott tournaments with Russian or Belarusian participants, including selection for the 2024 Olympics, Oleh Nemchinov, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, said on national television.

This move is Ukraine's response to a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sporting events.

"At the government meeting, a protocol decision was made at the proposal of Huttsait (Minister of Youth and Sports Vadym Huttsait) that we take part in qualifying competitions (for the 2024 Olympics) only where there are no Russians. Accordingly, participation beyond these criteria can be grounds for depriving federations of their national status," said Nemchinov, as cited by Ukrainska Pravda news outlet.

The Ukrainian government's alleged decision has not yet been officially announced.

On March 28, the IOC recommended allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in international sporting events while still banning anyone who actively supports Russia's war against Ukraine. According to the body, a final decision has not yet been made, however.

Ukraine has criticized the decision to "clear the path" for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Olympic Games.

Over 30 countries so far have called on the IOC to continue its ban on Russia and Belarus from competing in international sporting events, including the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

According to the IOC's decision, Russian and Belarusian athletes will be able to compete only as individual neutral athletes — teams from these countries will not be allowed. However, both individual and team competitions can be held at the same start, making it unclear how exactly the Ukrainian government's decision to boycott will work.

Ukraine’s sports minister: As Russia kills our athletes, it’s not the time to allow Russians back to international sports
Editor’s Note: This interview was recorded before the International Olympics Committee’s announcement on allowing some Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in Olympic qualification tournaments. Following the executive board meeting on March 28, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) rec…
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