Russia Fires Back After IOC Bans Its Athletes From Opening Ceremony In Paris

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Russian flag at Olympics

Russian diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the IOC’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Olympic opening ceremony was “illegal, unfair, and unacceptable.”

Russia on Wednesday deemed the decisions of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “discriminatory” after the organization announced it would ban Russian and Belarusian athletes taking part in the 2024 Olympic Games from the opening ceremony, a new restriction imposed because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The IOC’s decisions are illegal, unjust, and unacceptable. We are outraged by the unprecedented discriminatory conditions imposed by the International Olympic Committee on Russian athletes,” Russian diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a press briefing.

Kremlin accuses IOC of intimidation

Moments later, the Kremlin accused the IOC of trying to intimidate athletes wishing to take part in the “Friendship Games,” a competition competing with the Olympics that Russia wants to create in response to the multiple sanctions targeting it. “This is intimidation of athletes. And it completely undermines the authority of the IOC,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. On Tuesday, the IOC accused Russia of “politicizing sport” by organizing the competition.

This post is originally from L’Équipe