Joe Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine

3:00 p.m. ET, February 20, 2023

The United States, along with more than 30 other countries including Canada and most of Europe, supports a proposed ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in international sports competitions, according to a joint statement by the British government released on Monday.

The countries called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reverse its decision last month to create a way for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the upcoming Games as “neutral athletes.”

“There are serious concerns about how feasible it is for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete on a neutral basis given that they are directly funded and supported by their states. Until a workable ‘neutrality’ model is spelled out in detail, Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be allowed to compete again,” she added.

The statement went on to say that “there are clear concerns about the strong connections and affiliations between Russian athletes and the Russian military,” and called for the IOC to address the issues identified by all countries and reconsider its proposal.

The declaration was signed by the sport and culture ministers of the US, Canada, UK, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan and South Korea , Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Here’s what the US said previously: Earlier this month, the White House said it has no objection to allowing athletes from Russia or Belarus to compete in the 2024 Summer Games and the 2026 Winter Games – as long as it is “absolutely clear” that they are not representing their home countries. said spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.

“In cases where sports organizations and event organizers such as the International Olympic Committee allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate in supporting events, it should be absolutely clear that they do not represent the Russian or Belarusian states,” Jean-Pierre said, adding that the use of official Russian or Belarusian flags, emblems or anthems should be prohibited.