Paris 2024 Olympics: UK to chair Russia-Belarus participation summit

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British Culture Secretary Lucy Fraser will lead a summit of 30 countries on Friday to discuss the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in next year’s Olympics in Paris.

The International Olympic Committee is “exploring a way” so that athletes from the two countries can compete as neutrals.

This move was criticized against the backdrop of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the summit delegation live via video link.

Zelensky, who visited Britain earlier this week, previously said that allowing Russian athletes to compete in Paris would show that “terror is somehow acceptable”.

Minister of Sports of Ukraine Vadym Gutzait also said that the country may boycott the Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete.

A large number of other countries have already spoken against the possible inclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Representatives from countries such as France, Germany, Poland, the United States and Canada are expected to attend Friday’s summit, where a collective statement is likely to be agreed.

Fraser, who was appointed culture minister on Tuesday, said: “This week, President Zelensky told the UK in Parliament about the suffering that many Ukrainians still feel. While she was doing it, the IOC [Міжнародний олімпійський комітет] continued to ignore moves by international allies to step up their peace efforts and to overlook that the Olympics would provide Putin with the perfect platform to promote Russia and legitimize his illegal war.

“We must call on the IOC to show that the Olympic values ​​mean something. We must make it clear that this illegal intrusion has consequences.

“We cannot allow Russian athletes to stand alongside Team Great Britain and everyone else on the world stage.”

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy will join the summit via video link

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