Polish sports unions call for ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes
Polish sports unions have signed a declaration calling for the continuation of sanctions imposed on Russian and Belarusian sportspeople following Russia's invasion of Ukraine a year ago.
The declaration, signed in Warsaw on Thursday, was supported by the sports ministers of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who attended the ceremony.
"It is very important that autonomous sports unions unanimously supported this declaration," Kamil Bortniczuk, the Polish sports minister, said.
"We must do everything to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in international sports competitions until the end of the war in Ukraine," Bortniczuk added.
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Russian and Belarusian sportspeople were banned from taking part in many sporting events.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, 244 Ukrainian sportsmen have been killed.
In late January, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it had been looking at options to include Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutral contestants at the Paris 2024 Olympics, which would mean competing under the Olympic flag.
The IOC also said that the Olympic Council of Asia had offered Russian and Belarusian athletes the chance to compete in Asia. That could potentially also include Olympic qualifying events in a situation whereby Russians and Belarusians are unable to compete in Europe due to various restrictions and bans as well as opposition caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.