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No evidence provided to prove Russian biathletes violated doping rules — ambassador

December 15, 2018, 1:38 UTC+3

The Austrian police earlier accused Russian biathletes and national team's specialists of violating the anti-doping rules during the 2017 World Biathlon Championship in Hochfilzen

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© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

VIENNA, December 15. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to Austria Dmitry Lyubinsky said after the meeting between a designated lawyer and representatives of the Austrian prosecutor's office that no evidence was provided to prove that Russian biathletes violated anti-doping rules, Russia's Embassy in Austria told TASS on Friday.

"We confirm that on December 14 the embassy's lawyer designated to the case of Russian biathletes met with representatives of the Austrian prosecutor's office in Vienna. In accordance with the information we have at the moment about the investigation opened by the Austrian authorities into athletes and specialists of our national team, Russian Ambassador in Austria Dmitry Lyubinsky notes that no evidence was provideded to prove that our athletes are guilty," the embassy said.

"The presumption of innocence is in force. There are no restrictions for freedom of movements for the team," the embassy added.

Russian sports television correspondent Dmitry Guberniev earlier said that the police had accused several Russian biathletes and coaches of violating anti-doping rules at the 2017 Biathlon World Championships. The athletes facing new anti-doping accusations are 2014 Olympic champion Anton Shipulin, Evgeny Garanichev and Alexander Loginov.

The list also includes biathletes Alexey Volkov, Irina Starykh, former head coach of the Russian national team Alexander Kasperovich, doctors and massage therapists Artyom Kryntsilov, Alexander Selyavkin, Evgeny Shutov and Dmitry Topychkanov.

Russian biathlete Alexander Loginov wrote on his Instagram page on Thursday that the Austrian police were accusing Russian biathletes of fraudulent schemes involving blood transfusions at the 2017 World Championship.

A source in Hochfilzen familiar with the case corroborated the information to TASS about the police visiting the team’s location. He noted though that none of the Russian athletes had been detained, adding that Garanichev, Loginov, Starykh and Topychkanov are currently in Hochfilzen.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov has confirmed the information about the accusations, saying that the Austrian police were conducting an investigation against Russian biathletes and specialists of the team. The International Biathlon Union (IBU), the Russian Sports Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and other organizations are taking steps to investigate the circumstances of the case, Kolobkov said.

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