WASHINGTON, July 6. /TASS/. A call made by the United States to bar Russia from all sports tournaments worldwide is politically motivated and is an example of unfair competition, the Russian Embassy in the United States said in a statement.
The US Department of State said in a statement on Tuesday that the United States and its partners had urged to suspend the membership of the national sports federations of Russia and Belarus within all international federations. According to the statement, such announcement was made in view of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
"We have noted yet another Russophobic attack from the United States and its satellites, which do not leave attempts to limit Russian participation in sporting events," according to the Russian Embassy’s statement on its FaceBook account (a social media site banned in Russia since it is owned by Meta Corporation deemed extremist by Russia’s authorities).
"This has been done on the far-fetched pretext of Russia allegedly violating international obligations and breaching human rights in the context of the special military operation in Ukraine," the statement continued.
"We consider this step as politicized and aimed, as they say here, at ‘containing’ our country. At the same time, it is obvious that Ukraine is just an excuse. The persecution of Russian athletes began long before the current events. This is part of a ridiculous campaign to ‘cancel’ Russia," according to the Russian Embassy.
"The actions of the ‘collective West’ are another example of unfair competition in order to deprive Russian athletes of the opportunity to compete on equal terms with rivals from other countries."
"We emphasize that sport should remain out of politics. Using it as an instrument to exert pressure and settle scores directly violates the basic principles of the Olympic movement and is contrary to the spirit of competitiveness as well as healthy competition," the Russian Embassy to the US added.
Tuesday’s statement from the US Department of State also suggested that "Individuals closely aligned to the Russian and Belarusian states, including but not limited to government officials, should be removed from positions of influence on international sport federations, such as boards and organizing committees."
On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments, referring to a special military operation in Ukraine.
Following the IOC recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.
In late May, IOC President Thomas Bach stated that the world’s current situation was against the return of Russian athletes back to the international level of sports competitions.
Russia’s military operation
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would recognize the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russia signed agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with their leaders. Russia recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as of the beginning of 2014.
Russian President Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics, he had decided to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.
Subsequently, the DPR and the LPR launched an operation to liberate their territories under Kiev’s control.