Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday slammed a plan to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics and called for the “complete isolation” of Russians from the games.
The plan, put forward by the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, would allow Russian and Belarusians to participate but not under their countries’ flags or colors. For allowing Russia to launch the initial part of its invasion from Belarusian territory, Minsk has been included in Western sanctions and efforts to ban Russia from international events.
The plan would add restrictions that were imposed on Russia over a doping scandal, which barred Russian athletes from using their country’s flag in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
But the restrictions aren’t good enough for Zelensky, who told the International Olympic Committee President that the only option is “the complete isolation of the terrorist state on the international stage. In particular, this applies to international sports events.”
Zelensky has a history of calling for the collective punishment of Russians in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. He previously demanded that Western countries ban all Russian travelers, saying the “whole population” of Russia was responsible for the war. The EU never agreed on travel bans, but some eastern European countries obliged with visa restrictions.