Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to address a group of sports ministers meeting Friday to discuss Russian participation at next year’s Olympics
LONDON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was set to address a group of sports ministers meeting Friday to discuss Russian participation at next year’s Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee is working on a plan to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes who have not actively supported the war to enter qualifying events for the 2024 Summer Games in Paris despite the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
As Ukraine pushes for Russian athletes to be barred and threats of a boycott mount, officials from 30 countries planned the summit to discuss how to respond.
Zelenskyy, who has previously said any neutral flag for Russia would be “stained with blood,” is due to address the online summit by video link.
Zelenskyy made surprise visits to Britain and France on Wednesday, pushing for fighter jets to battle Russian invaders in a dramatic speech to the U.K. Parliament.
British Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer is chairing Friday’s meeting.
“We’re approaching a year since this barbaric invasion began,” she said in a statement Thursday. “We must urge the IOC to show that the Olympic values mean something. We must make clear there are consequences to this illegal invasion. We cannot allow Russian athletes to line up alongside Team GB (the British Olympic team) and everyone else on the world stage.”
Political leaders in Poland and the Baltic states have said there could be Olympic boycotts if the IOC forges ahead with its plan. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has said Russian and Belarusian athletes should be barred from the Olympics in her city if the war is still going on by then.