IOC boss Thomas Bach is trying to distance himself from the Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin, who has long been courted by the sports world.

In a media round, the President of the International Olympic Committee assured that people hadn't really spoken to each other "for a number of years".

"I can't look inside his head," Bach said when asked about Putin's motives for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the breach of the Olympic truce, which was in force until March 20.

"I can't give an explanation," Bach said.

The head of the IOC said he had not recently spoken to Putin on the phone and talked about the sport's measures against Russia.

On Monday, the IOC recommended that all international federations exclude athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus from competitions.

On February 4, Putin was a grandstand guest at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

In the past there had been repeated meetings between Bach and the Russian head of state, including at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and during the European Games in Minsk, Belarus.

In 2001, the IOC had already awarded Putin the Olympic gold medal, which he has now been revoked.

According to Bach, there was already irritation with Putin over the course of the penalties imposed on Russia for state-organized doping at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and the manipulation of laboratory data.

There were several hacker attacks during the investigation, the 68-year-old added.

Since then, "no real discussions have been possible" with Putin.

Under mounting pressure, the IOC took a tough stance on Russia on Monday.

It recommended that its member associations exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from international events because of the war of aggression in Ukraine.

Many professional associations followed this recommendation.

However, the IOC also left a back door.

"Should this not be possible at short notice under very extreme circumstances for organizational or legal reasons, the IOC executive leaves it to the respective organization to find its own way of effectively solving the dilemma described above," said the IOC in its recommendation for action.

The International Paralympic Committee took advantage of this and initially allowed Russians and Belarusians to take part in the Paralympics in Beijing, followed by a U-turn on Thursday and thus exclusion from the games, which begin on Friday.

Bach ruled out suspending the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on Wednesday.

"Only those who are responsible for this war can be held accountable.

This is the Russian government,” said the 1976 Olympic champion. As for lifting sanctions against Russia's sport and also ally Belarus in the event of a peace deal or a ceasefire, Bach said: “We left that open.” He went on to explain, that it was difficult to define events that would lead to a relaxation or increase in sanctions.

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