Ukrainian athletes demand total Russia and Belarus ban
Russia and Belarus must be punished, according to a letter sent to Olympic bosses
A group of Ukrainian athletes have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to “immediately suspend” all Russian and Belarusian competitors from international sporting events.
In a letter published by sporting movement Global Athlete and addressed to IOC president Thomas Bach and IPC counterpart Andrew Parsons, a host of Ukrainian athletes and federations demanded that both organizations sanction Russia and Belarus.
“Any suspension must include the banning of all [Russian and Belarusian] athletes from international sport, including 2022 Beijing Paralympic Games,” read the statement.
“If the IOC and IPC refuse to take swift action you are clearly emboldening Russia and Belarus violation of international law and your own Charters,” it added.
“Your lack of action will send a message to every athlete and the world that you have chosen Russia and Belarus interests over athlete interests. Your legacy will be defined by your actions.”
Among the signees were tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky and skeleton racer Vladyslav Heraskevych – who was recently seen holding a ‘No War’ sign at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Other names listed as ‘supporting’ the document included members of the Russian fencing team and the Belarus Sport Solidarity Athletes Federation.
Russia has faced widespread calls for sporting sanctions in the wake of its military operation in the newly recognized Donbass republics and in Ukraine itself.
Among the primary steps was the decision by European football governing body UEFA to move the Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris.
Russian sporting officials have decried the moves as politicizing sport and inflicting unfair sanctions on Russian athletes.