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Ukraine threaten Paris Olympics boycott if Russia take part

Ukraine threatened Thursday to boycott the 2024 Olympics in Paris if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to take part, a prospect described as “unacceptable” by the country’s sports minister.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have said ways to allow competitors from Russia and Belarus to take part should be “further explored”, despite them being sidelined from most Olympic sports since the invasion of Ukraine last February.

“Such a situation is unacceptable for our country,” Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Goutzeit said Thursday.

Goutzeit said Kyiv was currently pressuring the IOC and other international organisations to gain support for the banning of Russians and Belarusians from the Olympics.

“Our position remains unchanged — as long as the war continues in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be in international competitions,” Goutzeit wrote on Facebook.

“If we are not heard, I do not exclude the possibility that we will boycott and refuse to participate in the Olympics.”

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