MOSCOW, September 28. /TASS/. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is using the situation in Ukraine to bar Russian athletes from international competition, thus grossly violating the Olympic Charter, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with TASS.
"The IOC is using the situation around Ukraine to grossly and directly violate the Olympic Charter," the top Russian diplomat noted. "While barring the majority of our athletes from competing, they make an exception for certain sports and age groups to compete under a neutral status, without a flag or an anthem, seeing this as some big favor to us," he added.
He noted that for many years, the IOC "has been ignoring all the West’s shenanigans, and doing so ten thousand miles away from its borders." "And they were getting away with it," Lavrov stressed. "And when Russia [responded], after many, many years of alerting the global community that NATO is gearing up for a major war, while directly building a military threat on Russian borders and encouraging a regime which was openly prepped by Washington to contain and attack Russia, the IOC decided to take this inexplicable stand contrary to its obligations under the Olympic Charter," he added.
The Russian Foreign Minister also highlighted the fact that IOC President Thomas Bach, having spoken out earlier "about the Olympic Charter and the need to avoid politicizing it, said the IOC will in every way encourage the involvement of transgender people in the Olympic Games." "So in this aspect, they do not see any politicization. Let God be the judge," Lavrov concluded.
In late March 2023, the IOC recommended that individual athletes from Russia and Belarus be permitted to compete in international sports tournaments, but only under certain conditions. Specifically, athletes from the two countries should not have voiced "active support" for Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and must compete under a neutral status. Additionally, they would still be barred from team events. As of now, the IOC has not yet made a final decision on permitting Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Paris Olympics in 2024.