No Russians or Belarusians at the Olympics or in international competitions. Poland, Ukraine and the three Baltic countries on Monday (March 27th) opposed the reinstatement of Russian and Belarusian athletes, putting pressure on the IOC on the eve of a meeting.

"There is not a single reason to move away from the regime of exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes established by the IOC more than a year ago," following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the five countries said in their statement posted on the websites of their respective foreign ministries.

Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland jointly insist: Russian and Belarusian athletes should not participate in international sports competitions. I urge all states to back this call. Keep the doors of sports shut for Russia's war and propaganda.

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 27, 2023

IOC must clarify its position

Pressed to clarify its position, the IOC will discuss on Tuesday a return of the Russians and Belarusians in international events, a possibility that raises diplomatic tensions in the run-up to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, whose qualifications have begun for some disciplines.

For the Olympic organization, the ban can not drag on: "no athlete should be banned from competition on the sole basis of his passport," has been hammering the IOC for several months, relying among others on the advice of two United Nations experts.

Faced with these concerns, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia believe that "it is not the nationality of the athletes that determines their role, but the fact that they are sponsored/supported by their governments or companies supporting the Russian regime, which continues its war of aggression against Ukraine, or even that they are directly affiliated with the Russian military".

Last Thursday, the German Fencing Federation gave up the organization of the Women's Foil World Cup stage scheduled for early May in Tauberbischofsheim, judging that there were still "too many open questions" on the reinstatement of excluded shooters.

A few days later, the Ukrainian Federation of the discipline announced that it would boycott any competition in which Russian and Belarusian athletes were entered, a threat that already hangs over the 2024 Olympics from Ukraine as well as Poland and the Baltic countries.

With AFP

The summary of the week France 24 invites you to look back on the news that marked the week

I subscribe

Take international news with you everywhere! Download the France 24 app