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West’s strive to discredit Russian Olympians used as tool to punish Russia — Lavrov

The upcoming Olympics will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25

SOCHI, February 7. /TASS/. The strive of the West to discredit Russian Olympic athletes is one of the tools "to punish" Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday at a master class session for the finalists of the Leaders of Russia contest.

The Russian foreign minister said more and more people in the West are coming to realize that it is senseless striving to punish Russia and to obstruct its social and economic development.

"The set of tools at the use is broad and includes sanctions, the deployment of the global missile shield near our western and eastern borders, media wars, ungrounded accusations of Russia’s cyberattacks of nearly everywhere in the West and, of course, attempts to discredit our Olympic athletes without proving facts," Lavrov said.

"On the whole, this is the current attitude in the West not providing facts," the top Russian diplomat added.

On December 5, the IOC Executive Board announced its decision to suspend the whole Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.

The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’ The IOC reserved the right to the final word in regard to Russian athletes, who will go to PyeongChang under the neutral status.

The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.