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IOC President condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine

The President of the Olympic International Committee, Thomas Bach, has spoken out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said Olympic competitions or events should not take place in Russia or Belarus.

“The horrifying images and reports of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army shocked the world,” Mr Bach says in a message posted on the ABU website.

“Every day we are more devastated by seeing so much human suffering, anxiety, desperation and destruction. In the meantime, millions of Ukrainians, most of them women and children had to flee from the brutal acts of war to other countries. Our hearts, our feelings, our emotions go out to all these innocent victims.”

He describes the war in Ukraine as unique because of the global response to it and the far-reaching consequences for the world, making it a turning point in world history.

“This situation forces us – and gives us the opportunity – to clearly define the principles and values that constitute the Olympic Movement and guide us.

“Therefore, sports competitions or events should not take place in the territory of the Russian Federation or the Republic of Belarus. No national or state symbols of any kind of these countries should be displayed at any event organised by the Olympic Movement.”

Mr Bach urges every sports organisation in the world to protect the integrity, fairness and safety of their competitions by not allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part or in special circumstances to at least prohibit any identification of their nationality.

“At the same time, we will strengthen our solidarity efforts with the Ukrainian Olympic Community. Many of them are living in Ukraine under unbearable conditions, many of them have had to flee. We are overwhelmed by the show of solidarity from the entire Olympic Movement.”