Kiev, – Ukraine has once again threatened to boycott the 2024 Paris Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete.
“States covered with the blood of Ukrainians cannot participate in the Olympics,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on Telegram on Monday evening.
He said that 35 other countries are ready to join the boycott for “fair sport,” but did not name them.
Shmyhal added that he expects the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make a “correct decision” and thus exclude the Russians in view of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
In January, Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Guttsait, who is also the president of the country’s Olympic committee, had issued a similar threat.
He had threatened that Ukraine was ready to boycott the Games in case Russian and Belarusian athletes were allowed to participate.
The Ukrainian Olympic committee, however, has not made a final decision yet, according to a statement on Monday.
Currently, Ukrainians compete in sports events only if Russians and Belarusians participate as individual athletes under a neutral flag.
It was not said whether this would also be an acceptable option for the Olympics.
The IOC initially banned Russia and Belarus from international sports events after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
However, a few months ago, it recommended to sports federations to allow Russians and Belarusians return as neutral athletes in individual events and under strict conditions.
This recommendation, however, does not concern their participation at the Summer Olympics in Paris next year and the Winter Olympics Milano Cortina in 2026.
A decision on the matter will be taken “at the appropriate time,” the IOC said.
Last month, the IOC sent invitations to Paris 2024 to 203 eligible nations.
Guatemala, which is currently suspended, as well as Russia and Belarus due to the ongoing war in Ukraine were excluded.(dpa/NAN)