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Over 30 Countries Want Russia Banned From Olympics

  • More than 30 countries have pledged their support for banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sporting competitions.
  • The U.S. and U.K. are among the countries that signed a statement released by the British government.
The flag of the IOC flies next to the flag of the Russian Federation at night during the closing ceremony for Sochi 2014.
Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. and U.K. are two of more than 30 countries that have pledged their support for banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sporting competitions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A statement released by the British government and signed by the countries follows proposals from the International Olympic Committee that explore allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to competitions, including the 2024 Olympics in France — which also signed the statement.

Paris 2024 organizers previously stated they would abide by the IOC’s decision on Russia’s participation, but Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said there’d be no Russian delegation at the games as long as there’s a war.

Ukraine hasn’t ruled out a boycott of the games should Russian and Belarusian athletes be allowed. The IOC said a boycott would be in violation of the Olympic Charter.

The countries addressed the IOC’s proposal that athletes participate in competitions as “neutral athletes” not representing their country.

“There are serious concerns about how feasible it is for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete on a neutral basis given they are directly funded and supported by their states,” the British government stated, also referencing “strong links and affiliations between Russian athletes and the Russian military.”

“We also note that Russia and Belarus have it in their own hands to pave the way for athletes’ full return to the international sports community, namely by ending the war they started,” the countries added.

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