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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Jan. 28 that Russia must stop its aggression against Ukraine, and only then should athletes from Russia and Belarus, which supports the fomer's invasion, be considered for participation in the Olympic Games.
“Olympic principles and war fundamentally oppose each other,” Zelensky said on Telegram on Jan. 28.
“Russia must stop its aggression and terror, and only after that it will be possible to talk about Russian participation in the context of the Olympic movement,” reads the statement, accompanied by pictures of Ukrainian athletes practicing at sporting facilities damged or destoyed by the war.
Zelensky’s statement came following the International Olympics Committee’s (IOC) decision to clear the path for Russian and Belarus athletes to participate in the 2024 summer games in Paris.
When Russia invaded Ukraine last February, the IOC recommended barring athletes from Russia and Belarus from international sports competitions.
The move to lift this ban just a year later evoked a critical reaction from Ukrainian and global athletes.