The Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine condemned the decision of the leadership of the Olympic Games to admit Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutral to the 2024 Olympics.

Acting Minister of Youth and Sports, Matviy Bidnyi, noted that, just a few days ago, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach announced that the IOC will make a decision in March next year.

“For our part, we explained to international partners and the Olympic Committee that Russian athletes have the same passports as the occupiers who are killing Ukrainians. And this means that they bear part of the responsibility for the deaths of Ukrainians. During the war, it will not be possible to hide behind the white flag of ‘neutrality’,” the minister said.

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It is currently understood that only eight athletes from Russia and three from Belarus have qualified as neutral athletes.

The IOC promises not to allow “athletes who actively support the war” to participate, as well as “athletes who work under a contract with the Russian or Belarusian military or power structures.”

In Ukraine, such a decision is not considered sufficient. Kyiv Post's sources in the Ministry have said that the Ukrainian side has begun to work out a common position together with Great Britain and the Baltic countries.

Diplomatic work is also planned regarding the possible denial of visas to Russian and Belarusian athletes for entry into the EU.

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The ministers said they hope to present a proposal that is "defined in all its dimensions" to G7 leaders ahead of a summit in Puglia, southern Italy, on June 13-15.

“No one guarantees that all neutral athletes will receive visas,” the source said.

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