Russia and Belarus must be punished, says letter sent to Olympic bosses
A group of Ukrainian athletes reportedly called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to “suspend immediately” all Russian and Belarusian competitors of international sports events.
In a letter published by the sports movement Global Athlete and addressed to IOC President Thomas Bach and his IPC counterpart Andrew Parsons, a host of Ukrainian athletes and federations demanded that the two organizations sanction Russia and Belarus.
“Any suspension must include a ban on all [Russian and Belarusian] athletes in international sport, including the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games,” read the statement.
“If the IOC and IPC refuse to act quickly, you are clearly encouraging Russia and Belarus to violate international law and your own charters,” he added.
“Your inaction will send a message to every athlete and to the world that you have chosen the interests of Russia and Belarus over the interests of the athletes. Your legacy will be defined by your actions.
Signatories included tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky and skeleton racer Vladyslav Heraskevych – who was recently seen holding a ‘No War’ sign at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Other names listed as “supporting” the document supposedly included members of the Russian fencing team and the Belarusian Federation of Sports Solidarity Athletes. However, this claim was later refuted by the Russian Olympic Committee, citing the athletes themselves.
Russia has faced numerous calls for sports sanctions following its military operation in the newly recognized Donbas republics and in Ukraine itself.
One of the key milestones was the decision by European football’s governing body, UEFA, to move the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Paris.
Russian sports officials have denounced these measures as politicizing the sport and imposing unfair sanctions on Russian athletes.
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