Russia will be asked to observe a ceasefire in Ukraine during the Paris Olympics, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview from Paris shown on Ukrainian television on Saturday, March 16.

“The demand for a ceasefire during the Olympics. They (the Russians) must do this. That is what has always happened,” the interviewer said, speaking through an interpreter.

“It will be requested,” Macron says in French before a voiceover interpretation gives his response in Ukrainian as “Yes, we will ask for it.”

“The rule of the host country is to move in step with the Olympic movement,” the interpreter quoted Macron as saying. “This is a message of peace. We will also follow the decision of the Olympic Committee.”

The International Olympic Committee condemned Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, saying the Russian government had breached the Olympic Truce, which aims to harness the power of sport to promote peace and dialogue.

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On Thursday, March 14, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee said the ROC would not boycott this year’s Paris Olympics, despite restrictions on athletes imposed by the IOC as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that she preferred that Russians and Belarusians “don’t come.” Russians and Belarusians had initially been banned from competing internationally in the wake of the invasion, for which Belarus has been used as a staging ground.

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Some 40 Russian athletes to compete without the flag

Senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice-President John Coates is unsure how many Russian athletes will compete as neutral athletes at the Paris Games, but thinks reports that it might be as low as 40 could be close to the mark.

Under sanctions put in place because of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, for which Belarus acted as a staging post, the IOC is allowing only some Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete in Paris under tight restrictions.

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The inclusion of the neutral athletes remains a contentious issue, with Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba describing December’s decision to allow them as “shameful”.

“The issue is how many of them are going to be there too, because they’re not going to be in any team sports because they can’t compete as Russia,” Coates said in Sunday’s edition of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

“And then anyone who is prepared out of the Russian military clubs, they’re not going. I don’t know, but obviously some athletes might choose not to go if they’re not competing for Russia.

“I mightn’t be right, but I think that I’ve read something that it might be as little as 40.”

Neutral athletes will compete only in individual sports without flags, emblems or national anthems, and athletes who actively support the war in Ukraine, or are contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military, are not eligible.

Moscow, which describes the invasion as a “special military operation”, called the restrictions “illegitimate, unfair and unacceptable”, but Russia’s Olympic chief, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, has confirmed its athletes would not boycott the Games.

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Because of doping sanctions that prevented them from competing under the Russian flag, 335 athletes took part in the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team, winning 71 medals. Belarus sent 101 athletes who won seven medals.

The ROC has since been suspended by the IOC for recognising regional Olympic Councils in territories annexed from Ukraine, a decision upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month.

Of 4,600 athletes who had qualified for the Games at the time of the December decision on neutral athletes, eight were Russians and three held Belarusian passports. More than 60 Ukrainians had qualified.

Some sports, such as equestrian, have announced they will not allow any athletes from the two countries to compete, while World Athletics has had a blanket ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes since early 2022.

Others, such as World Swimming and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), will allow Russians and Belarussians to compete under the IOC restrictions.

Russia’s world number four tennis player, Daniil Medvedev, said earlier this month he was looking forward to competing and would abide by the rules.

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The Paris Olympics run from July 26 to August 11.

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Comments (2)

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John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Firstly I agree no international 'good will' gathering should include representatives of russia. Until their citizens take out the kremlin's current international chaos / crime sowing regime, that nation must not be given opportunities to white wash putin's crimes.

On another note though, here is some interesting data from Olympedia's website regarding the Olympics providing a means of defecting despot nations:

Since 1928 there were 61 defections...45 of them from USSR / Russian controlled nations at the time of their defections.

The rest almost entirely from various other countries in Africa, Asia, South America or Middle East either very low scoring on International Transparency's corruption index, or in the midst of civil wars at the time.



While none have yet defected from any now sovereign Democratic allied nation, that is exactly where all past Olympic defectors head.

With 75% of Olympic defections tied to USSR / Russia, what does that tell you about the oppressive government model they represent? Even their most promising athletes, with all the perks that may allow, have risked it all to leave.

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D Ingonthis
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Athletes from Russia should not be welcomed in any international competitions, anywhere. If they show up, they should be arrested for spying and sentenced to many years of hard labour before being "disappeared". Nothing other than treating them like they treat the Ukranians.

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