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Kremlin encourages dialogue with IOC, discourages boycott

The situation is challenging but "this does not mean that dialogue should be suspended," the Kremlin spokesman said
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dissuaded calls for a possible boycott of the Olympics by Russian athletes and rather encouraged dialogue with the International Olympic Committee even given this highly-charged situation.

"At present, it’s probably important to avoid such words as ‘boycott’," Peskov told reporters when asked if the Kremlin was considering announcing this measure. "In any case, we need to continue dialogue with the IOC," Peskov said, noting that the situation is challenging but "this does not mean that dialogue should be suspended."

"We need to talk to the IOC and defend our rights, if this is possible," he emphasized.

The International Olympic Committee did not mention any plans to bar fans from using Russian flags during the 2018 Olympics but the issue needs clarification, Peskov noted. "New aspects are emerging, including the possibility of barring fans from using [Russian] flags. As you know, the decision published by the IOC does not mention anything like that," he said. "It is something new. The main thing is for experts to clarify if it is true and what the source of this information is," Peskov added.

"It is most important to keep a sober approach, first of all, in the interests of our athletes who made the decision on taking part in these Olympic Games, and everyone understood and supported this decision," he added.

On December 5, the IOC Executive Board announced its decision to suspend the entire 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 earlier published a set of guidelines in regard to uniforms of Russian athletes and national officials, who will be cleared to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in the neutral status. The list of guidelines contains 13 provisions stipulating requirements for Russian athletes at the upcoming Olympic Games. The Russian athletes’ uniforms are not allowed to feature the country’s coat of arms and national emblem as well as the emblem of Russia’s Olympic Committee. Separate items of clothing cannot form a tricolor. Besides, only single or dual colors are permitted on uniforms, while the colors used in uniforms, accessories and equipment are to be darker than those on Russia’s flag.

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