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Russia will keep on protecting athletes — deputy PM

December 01, 13:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The IOC will announce its decision about the Russian team’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games on December 5

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko

© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Russia will never stop protecting the rights of its athletes, accused of violating anti-doping rules, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said at a press conference.

As of now, the International Olympic Committee has issued Olympic life bans for a total of 22 Russian athletes, while their results achieved at the 2014 Sochi Olympics have been annulled based on the decision made by the IOC disciplinary commission headed by Denis Oswald.

"We will continue to protect our athletes, even going to civil courts. We won’t let it rest," Mutko said.

The IOC will announce its decision about the Russian team’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games on December 5.

Mutko told reporters he is ready to testify before any disciplinary commission that there is no state-supported doping program in Russia.

"I’m ready to come to any court, any disciplinary body and say that Russia has never had and will never have any program of doping cover-up. We don’t need this," Mutko said.

Mutko, Russia’s former sports minister, said he does not know what decision the International Olympic Committee will take on December 5 on the Russian national team’s participation in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games.

"We expect that the provisions of the Olympic Charter and the presumption of innocence will be observed. Collective punishment, which has become fashionable now, is unacceptable," he added.

"I will once again say: we fairly hosted the Olympic Games at the highest level. All the system of doping control rested in the hands of the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and we handed over all the doping samples from the Games," Mutko said.

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