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Sports minister "puzzled" by US probe into Russian doping violations

May 18, 15:12 UTC+3 MOSCOW
New York Times daily reported on Monday citing its sources that the US Department of Justice launched an investigation into allegations of doping abuse in Russian sports
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Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko

© Artyom korotayev/TASS

MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. Steps taken by the US Department of Justice, which allegedly initiated an investigation into anti-doping violations in Russia sports, are very puzzling, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS on Wednesday.

New York Times daily reported on Monday citing its sources that the US Department of Justice launched an investigation into allegations of doping abuse in Russian sports. The press service of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York neither confirmed nor denied this information to TASS.

"This of course was not unexpected for us," Mutko said in an interview with TASS. "Similar investigations are underway in regard to football and are boldly labeled with money laundering during the bidding process for the [FIFA] World Cup. This was not something new to us."

"However, we are puzzled that the US justice decided to probe Russia namely," Mutko said. "There are enough violations of anti-doping rules round the world and they can all be probed. We would like to see the United States probing its own national team. The atmosphere there is far from being cloudless."

In an interview with New York Times, published last week, ex-head of Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov claimed that the Russian sports authorities allegedly prepared a special doping program for national athletes in order to win most of the medals at home Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. The ex-doping official said some Russian Olympic gold medalists in Sochi took banned substances.

Following the publication of the US daily, the IOC requested the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to initiate an investigation into allegations that testing at the Sochi Laboratory was subverted. The IOC also urged the Russian Olympic authorities to provide full assistance in WADA’s new probe.

The Russian Olympic team finished the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi in the first place with the overall result of 33 won medals (13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze medals) surpassing its previous Winter Olympics record of 11 gold medals, set at the 1994 Winter Games in Norway’s Lillehammer.

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