The message was launched by its Minister of Sports, Vadym Gutzeit.

Ukraine on Thursday threatened to boycott the 2024 Olympics in Paris if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decides to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes, banned from most international competitions under their banners since the Russian invasion, to participate.

“Such a situation is unacceptable for our state,” reacted Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Gutzeit.

“Our position remains unchanged: as long as the war continues in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes should not participate in international competitions,” he said on Facebook.

A response to the IOC

"If we are not heard, I do not exclude the possibility that we boycott and refuse to participate in the Olympic Games" 2024, he said, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is firmly opposed to any attempt to reinstate Moscow and Minsk.

The IOC said on Wednesday that ways to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes needed to be "further explored".

“No athlete should be banned from competition on the sole basis of their passport,” the Committee said, drawing the wrath of Ukraine and other European countries.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) for its part proposed Thursday to integrate these athletes into its regional competitions such as the Asian Games, expressing its support for the position of the IOC.

The COA's proposal could notably allow banned athletes to participate in its regional qualifying events, some of which have already started, for the 2024 Olympics.

British and Danish support for the Ukrainian position

Michelle Donelan, the British Minister of Culture who is also in charge of Sports, for her part considered that the IOC initiative was “very far removed from the realities of war”.

“We condemn any initiative that would allow President Putin to legitimize his illegal war in Ukraine,” she said.

"The IOC President [Thomas] Bach himself condemned Russia less than a year ago for violating the Olympic truce and asked to 'give peace a chance'", recalled the minister.

The head of the Danish Olympic Committee, Hans Natorp, stressed that his country was also strongly opposed to Russia's return to the Olympic world.

"Russian aggression in Ukraine is intensifying," he tweeted.

"Under these circumstances, it would be unacceptable to allow Russia and Belarus to participate in sporting events."

“We firmly maintain our position.

It is not yet time to consider their return,” he added.

Paris 2024 will not have the last word

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, however wanted Russian athletes to be able to participate in the Olympics but under a neutral banner.

“I think this is a moment for athletes and that athletes should not be deprived of their competition.

But I think and I plead, like a large part of the sports movement, for there to be no delegation under the Russian banner”, she explained on France 2. She would prefer to see Russian athletes compete “under a neutral banner", as has already been done.

The organizing committee of the Paris Olympic Games, however, has no say in deciding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes.

The IOC recalled on Wednesday that it is the international federation of each sport concerned at the Olympic Games which has "sole authority" in the matter.


Paris 2024 Olympics: Anne Hidalgo in favor of the participation of Russian athletes "under a neutral banner"


Paris 2024 Olympics: The organizing committee is "on time", assures Tony Estanguet

  • Paris 2024 Olympics

  • Sport

  • War in Ukraine

  • Russia

  • IOC

  • Boycott

  • Olympic Games

  • Belarus