Poland expects around 40 countries to oppose the presence of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Paris Olympics in 2024, its Sports Minister Kamil Bortniczuk said on Thursday.
• Read also: Washington supports the participation of Russians under neutral banner
“I think next week will show a very strong attitude from representatives of 40 countries,” he told state television. Their position “will be very clearly opposed to the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the Olympics”.
According to him, it will be at least the countries of the European Union, Great Britain and the United States.
Relevant sports ministers are due to hold a video conference on Feb. 10 on the matter, Bortniczuk said.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) unleashed Ukraine’s wrath last week by proposing a roadmap to organize the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral flag, provided that they had “not actively supported the war in Ukraine”.
kyiv immediately accused the Olympic body of “promoting war”, and threatened to boycott the Paris Games if Russians participate.
Moscow, for its part, believes that all restrictions must be lifted and that the Olympics must not be politicized.
Poland and the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) had already indicated on Thursday that they would oppose the presence of Russian and Belarusian athletes in Paris, even under a neutral flag.
The United States spoke out on Thursday in favor of the participation of these athletes under a neutral banner.
If athletes are invited to an international sporting event like the Olympics, “it must be absolutely clear that they do not represent the Russian or Belarusian states”, said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, adding that “the use of Russian and Belarusian flags, emblems or anthems should also be prohibited. »
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