UKRAINIAN WORLD CONGRESS

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UWC condemns IOC’s decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes at 2024 Olympics

#UWC news
December 11,2023 564
UWC condemns IOC’s decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes at 2024 Olympics

The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) condemns the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to admit athletes from Russia and Belarus to the 2024 Olympic Games in neutral status. International sporting events must not serve as a platform to conceal Russia’s genocidal war in Ukraine, mask its grave crimes against humanity, or endorse acceptance of warfare, devastation, and destruction.

At the same time, the UWC expresses its sincere gratitude to the friends of Ukraine, who also condemned the decision of the IOC. In particular, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Gabrielius Landsbergis, criticized the position of the International Olympic Committee.

Russia enlists sportsmen and women into its genocidal army. This is not neutrality, this is against everything the Olympics should stand for,” Landsbergis wrote.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Margus Tsahkna, noted that the IOC’s decision regarding the Russian athletes “will not wash away the blood on their hands.” “Allowing Russian athletes participate in the Olympics without a flag will not wash away the blood on their hands. The IOC’s decision goes against everything Olympism is about,” Tsakhna wrote.

The UWC aligns with the statement from Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, urging all of Ukraine’s partners to denounce the IOC’s ruling on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

“The Ukrainian diaspora is disappointed at this decision. Numerous Ukrainian athletes have been killed as they fight to protect their country. Athletes have been displaced as their homes and training facilities have been bombed. And now IOC expects them to compete freely with athletes from Russia – the perpetrator of their trauma,” Chair of the UWC World Sport Committee Renata Roman said. 

On December 8, the International Olympic Committee admitted Russian and Belarusian athletes to the 2024 Olympics in Paris in neutral status. While teams won’t be allowed, individuals from Russia and Belarus can still participate in individual events.

Russians and Belarusians will exclusively earn Olympic qualification via official qualifying starts without providing additional qualifying chances specifically for them. The IOC writes that as of December 8, 2023, only 11 “neutral athletes” met the admission criteria for participation in the 2024 Olympics – 8 with Russian passports and 3 with Belarusian ones. And in general, a “very limited number” of Russians and Belarusians will be able to perform at the 2024 Olympics.

“Neutral athletes” must sign a statement supporting the Olympic Charter. National symbols of Russia and Belarus – anthem, flag, and other attributes – will be banned.

The Ukrainian World Congress has conducted an international advocacy campaign to prevent Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, even under a neutral flag.

“We are confident that the Olympic Games should not be used for whitewashing Russia’s genocidal war in Ukraine, for concealing its crimes against humanity, or for promoting the tolerance of war and destruction,” reads a letter signed by UWC First Vice President Stefan Romaniw and Chair of the UWC World Sport Committee Renata Roman to the President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach.

Cover: vgolos.ua

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