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'Shocking that we've to convince': Zelenskyy Says Russian Athletes' Olympics Participation Would Show 'terror Is Acceptable'

Ukraine President Zelenskyy said that allowing Russia to compete at the 2024 Olympics in Paris would amount to showing that "terror is somehow acceptable".

Zelenskyy IOC

Image: IOC/

Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelenskyy, in his video address on Sunday, said that the attempt by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to get Russian athletes to compete and participate in the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics is an "attempt to tell the world that terror can allegedly be something acceptable". Speaking about the recent shelling in Kherson by Russian forces that claimed three lives and left six wounded, Zelenskyy said it was "shocking" that there was a need to convince international sports bureaucrats to refuse any support for the "terrorists state".

Zelenskyy revealed that he had sent a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron on this issue as a follow up to a conversation the duo had on January 24. "In such circumstances, against the backdrop of such constant Russian terrorist attacks on our cities and villages, against the backdrop of constant Russian assaults that try to leave no single intact wall, it is even shocking that we have to convince international sports bureaucrats to refuse any support for the terrorist state," Zelenskyy said in his address. 

The International Olympic Committee's attempt to get Russian athletes back to compete and participate in the Olympics is an attempt to tell the world that terror can allegedly be something acceptable. As if it is possible to turn a blind eye to what Russia is doing to Kherson, to Kharkiv, to Bakhmut and Avdiivka, he continued.

As Paris prepares to host the Olympics next year, Zelenskyy said, "We must be sure that Russia will not be able to use it or any other international sporting event to promote aggression or its state chauvinism." Speaking about the 'Battle of Kruty' between Ukraine and the erstwhile-Soviet Union in 1918, he said, "In the first half of the 20th century, too many mistakes were made in Europe that led to horrific tragedies. There was also a major Olympic mistake. The Olympic movement and terrorist states should definitely not intersect."

IOC may allow Russians & Belarusians to compete under neutral flag

On January 25, the International Olympic Committee asserted in a statement that it would look into the options of letting the Russian and Belarusian authorities compete in the event as “neutral athletes”. The committee asserted that the athletes will not be allowed to represent their countries in international events amid the Russia-Ukraine war. Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee, stated that he wants to “explore the possibility”. The international body asserted that “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport". 

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