Poland supports Olympic ban for Russian and Belarusian athletes

Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

The Baltic states and Poland are opposing Russian and Belarusian athletes' participation at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics. According to Ukraine’s allies, athletes from these countries should be banned from competing, even under a neutral flag. The decision was announced by the Latvian foreign minister.

During the Tokyo Olympics, Russian athletes competed under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee. They were not allowed to use the national flag of the Russian Federation as a result of Russia’s violations of international law.

“We all are in agreement that as long as Russia, being supported by Belarus, continues its unprovoked direct aggression against Ukraine, such a decision should not be supported as it is unacceptable,” Edgar Rinkēvičs said during a press conference in Riga.

The statement was made after a meeting of foreign ministers by Poland, Lithuania and Estonia: Zbigniew Rau, Gabrielius Landsbergis and Urmas Reinsalu, respectively.

Rinkēvičs also appealed to the international community to maintain a clear position on the matter.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it had been looking at options for including Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The IOC also mentioned the Olympic Council of Asia had offered Russian and Belarusian athletes the chance to compete in Asia. This could potentially also include Olympic qualifying events in a situation when the aggressor states cannot compete in Europe due to restrictions and bans as well as opposition caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter of the IOC as promoting “violence, mass murders, destruction.” Ukraine officials have stated the country’s athletes will not take part in the Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes will be admitted for participation.