Sporting sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus due to the invasion of Ukraine must remain firmly in place in 2023, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach insisted on Friday.
Mr. Bach also said that Ukrainian athletes have the full solidarity of the Olympic Movement and that the IOC wants to see a strong Ukrainian team at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Russia invaded Ukraine from its territory and that of Belarus on February 24, three days after the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, in violation of the Olympic Truce (which extends from one week before the start of the Olympic Games to one week after the end of the Paralympic Games).
The IOC sanctioned Moscow and Minsk: since then, no international sporting event is organized or supported in Russia or Belarus and no national symbol of these countries is displayed during a sporting event.
These sanctions against Russian and Belarusian states and governments must and will remain firmly in place
,” Bach said in a New Year message.
We bring our support and all our solidarity to the athletes and members of the Ukrainian Olympic community everywhere
” in the world, he continued.
In this new year, Ukrainian athletes can count on the full commitment of the IOC and the entire Olympic Movement to this solidarity.
We want to see a strong team from (...) Ukraine at the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2026 Milan Cortina Winter Olympics
,” Bach said.
In mid-December, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for Russian athletes to be placed in "
" and not be able to return to the Olympics in 2024.
Mr. Zelensky had notably indicated to Mr. Bach his firm opposition to the position taken by the American Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which said that it was in favor of the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in the Paris Olympic Games on condition that they do not not wear the colors of their countries.
The Ukrainian head of state also told Bach that he was disappointed with the presence of the president of the Russian Olympic Committee at the IOC summit on 9 November.