"Sanctions on Russia and Belarus must remain in place in 2023."
Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, freezes the hopes of Moscow and Minsk of a slow thaw in sport.
Since the day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the IOC has banned Russia and Belarus from organizing any international sporting event, and its athletes from participating in world competitions and the Olympics.
But in recent weeks the belief had spread that small openings were necessary: in particular, a proposal had arrived from the USA to readmit the Russians to Paris 2024, without a flag.
A proposal that prompted the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, to telephone Bach to ask him to continue on the path of zero tolerance.
"These sanctions against Russia and Belarus must and will remain firmly in place," Bach said in an end-of-year message today.
"In this new year, Ukrainian athletes can count on the full commitment of the IOC and the entire Olympic movement as a sign of solidarity - added Bach -. We want to see a strong team from Ukraine at the Paris 2024 and Milan Cortina 2026 Olympics "Bach said.