Ukrainian athletes told to avoid Russians at Olympics in Paris

Ukraine’s athletes have been urged by their Olympic chiefs not to have any contact with their Russian and Belarusian counterparts at the Paris Games in July and August.

Ukraine had threatened to boycott the Games after the International Olympic Committee decided Russians and Belarusians who do not openly support the invasion of Ukraine and have no army connections can compete as neutrals.

Kyiv has now reluctantly opted to take part.

But according to the recommendations published on Thursday, any contact with “representatives of the aggressor states” inside and outside the Olympic venues is discouraged. This is intended to avoid possible “provocations”, the Kyiv Independent reported.

Ukrainian athletes should also not take part in discussions with Olympians from Russia and Belarus on social media, the Ukrainian Olympic Committee said.

For medal ceremonies, Ukrainians are urged to keep their distance from Russians or Belarusians and avoid sharing photos or videos.

Ukrainian athletes should also refrain from joint press conferences, interviews and live broadcasts, unless it directly relates to competitions.

In a further recommendation, Ukraine’s Olympic Committee wants its athletes to report violations of the neutrality requirement by Russians and Belarusians.

Ukraine has been fending off a Russian invasion for more than two years. The authoritarian Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko is supporting Russia in the war and allowed Russian soldiers to invade neighbouring Ukraine from Belarus.

The Summer Olympics are scheduled to be held in the French capital from 26 July to 11 August.


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