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Kremlin regrets IOC sanctions against Belarus’ Olympic Committee

The Kremlin spokesman added that Alexander Lukashenko is the legitimate president of Belarus and heads the country’s Olympic Committee

MOSCOW, December 9. /TASS/. Russia regrets the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to introduce provisional sanctions against representatives of the Belarusian National Olympic Committee (NOC) suspending their participation in IOC events, namely the Olympics, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, adding that Alexander Lukashenko is the legitimate president of Belarus and heads the country’s Olympic Committee.

"We regret this decision [by the IOC] a lot. At the same time, we value our relations with Belarus, which include cooperation in the sphere of sports," the spokesman said.

On December 8, the IOC Executive Board announced a set of provisional sanctions against the Belarusian NOC. The set of the imposed IOC Executive Board’s measures in regard to the Belarusian Olympic Committee rules in particular to: "Exclude the currently elected members of the Executive Board of the NOC of Belarus from all IOC events and activities, including the Olympic Games."

"This includes in particular Mr. Alexander Lukashenko, in his capacity as NOC President and legal representative of the NOC; Mr. Viktor Lukashenko, in his capacity as NOC First Vice-President and the person responsible for the NOC’s operations and activities on a daily basis; and Mr. Dmitry Baskov, in his capacity as a NOC Executive Board member and in view of the specific allegations raised against him," the statement reads.

These sanctions were introduced on the outcomes of the investigation launched on November 25 based on the claims made by local athletes who say that they are being taken off national teams and excluded from competitions due to their disagreement with the results of the presidential election, which Lukashenko won according to the data provided by the Central Election Commission. Meanwhile, Lukashenko stated on December 8 that he would contest this decision in court.