Zelenskyy Tells IOC There’s ‘No Place’ For ‘Terrorist State’ Russia At Paris Olympics

Russian athletes have “no place” at subsequent yr’s Paris Olympics whereas their nation’s invasion of Ukraine continues, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy instructed a summit of sports activities officers from about 30 international locations Friday.

The International Olympic Committee argues it could be discriminatory to exclude Russia and ally Belarus from sports activities forward of the 2024 Paris Games. With qualifying in lots of sports activities already underneath manner, the IOC desires athletes from these international locations to compete in a impartial capability with out nationwide symbols.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated Russia’s presence on the Olympics “cannot be covered up with some pretended neutrality or a white flag.”

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“While Russia kills and terrorizes, representatives of the terrorist state have no place at sports and Olympic competitions,” Zelenskyy instructed the summit in a gap tackle by video hyperlink, based on a transcript issued by his workplace.

“And it cannot be covered up with some pretended neutrality or a white flag. Because Russia is now a country that stains everything with blood — even the white flag. It must be recognized. And this must be recognized, in particular, at the level of the International Olympic Committee,” Zelenskyy stated. “The International Olympic Committee needs honesty. Honesty it has unfortunately lost. Honesty that will help stop Russian terror and bring peace closer.”

Zelenskyy made shock visits to Britain and France on Wednesday, pushing for fighter jets to battle Russian invaders in a dramatic speech to the British Parliament.

“President Zelenskyy told the UK in Parliament this week of the suffering still being felt by many Ukrainians. As he did so the IOC was continuing to ignore the international allies stepping up their efforts for peace and disregard how the Olympics will give (Russian President Vladimir) Putin the perfect platform to promote Russia and legitimize his illegal war,” Frazer stated in a press release Thursday.

Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Guttsait stated permitting Russians to compete would additional traumatize athletes affected by the conflict.

“The participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions will make it impossible for Ukrainian athletes to take part in them, because each of the Ukrainians suffered from Russian aggression in one way or another: They lost their relatives and friends, lost their homes, received psychological trauma, lost the opportunity to do what they love,” Guttsait, who additionally leads the Ukrainian Olympic Committee, wrote in a letter to IOC president Thomas Bach and different Olympic leaders that was printed Thursday.

Ukraine has beforehand made public a letter from Bach to Guttsait saying that “threatening a boycott … goes against the fundamentals of the Olympic Movement and the principles we stand for.”

Political leaders of Ukraine’s close by allies in Poland and the Baltic states have stated there might be Olympic boycotts if the IOC forges forward with its plan. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has stated Russian and Belarusian athletes must be barred from the Olympics in her metropolis if the conflict remains to be occurring by then.

The IOC, which final yr backed excluding Russians and Belarusians from sporting occasions on security grounds, additionally faces challenges from inside its personal motion. It has given the federations working particular person Olympic sports activities the ultimate say on the small print of readmitting Russian and Belarusian athletes. The sports activities might impose totally different guidelines and transfer at totally different speeds, or problem the IOC’s authority totally.