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Ukrainian journalists call on media to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russian and Belarusian participation

On January 25, 2023, the International Olympic Committee published a statement that Russian and Belarusian athletes will be able to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris after Asian qualification. “Such a cynical detour is tried to be softened by the fact that Russians and Belarusians will perform with neutral flags and without using national symbols. However, as the President of Ukraine noted, “any “neutral” flag of Russian athletes is stained with blood,” Ukrainian media organization Internews writes.

On February 6, 2023, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine appealed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), national Olympic committees, international sports federations, and parliaments of the world with a demand to ban the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international sports competitions, including the 2024 Olympic Games, until the end of the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine.

According to the resolution of the Ukrainian parliament, the proposals of the IOC regarding the admission of Russians and Belarusians “are an insult to the memory of hundreds of thousands of citizens of Ukraine, including more than 220 Ukrainian athletes, who selflessly defended their country and gave their lives in the struggle for its future as a democratic European state”.

The Baltic countries and Poland have already officially appealed to the IOC to not allow Russians and Belarusians to participate in the Olympics. The same position was expressed in a joint statement by representatives of the Olympic Committees of Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Denmark.

“We hope that international pressure will force the IOC to reverse its decision. However, in the event that Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete, we call on Ukrainian and foreign media to completely boycott the Olympic Games – 2024 on their resources,” the statement reads.

“320 sports facilities have already been damaged by Russia’s military aggression on the territory of Ukraine. 87 of them were completely or partially destroyed. Every day, the Russian military kills civilians of Ukraine, including professional athletes. Thus, on January 14, 2023, as a result of a rocket attack by the occupiers on the Dnipro, master of sports in acrobatics Anastasiya Ihnatenko, as well as master of sports in boxing, trainer Mykhailo Korenovskyi were killed. In the conditions of Russia’s criminal aggression, Ukrainian children do not have the opportunity to attend sports sections due to constant air strikes and shelling of energy infrastructure and, as a result, lack of light.

Russia is using sports as an ideological weapon in its hybrid aggression to spread propaganda narratives and cover up the crimes of the Russian military. Belarus, as a participant in military aggression against Ukraine, is also responsible for crimes against humanity on the territory of Ukraine. Allowing the citizens of these states to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games will be an act of “appeasement of the aggressor” and neglect of the memory of thousands of innocent Ukrainians killed.

We call on journalists around the world to show solidarity in returning the IOC to the fundamental principles of the Olympic movement, which is called ‘to support the establishment of a peaceful society that is interested in preserving human dignity.'”

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