Baltics, Poland to continue efforts to bar Russians, Belarusians from competitions

  • 2023-04-14
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Baltic and Polish ministers agreed on Thursday to continue their efforts to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sports competitions, the Lithuanian Education, Science and Sport Ministry said.

In their remote meeting, the four ministers responsible for sports policy reiterated their "firm stance" against the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to competitions, the ministry said in a press release. 

"The countries are convinced that national sports federations should act more pro-actively," it said. "It was agreed at the meeting that the countries should continue to take a firm stance and seek appropriate solutions domestically as well."

The participants of the meeting supported Lithuania's position that calls for inviting sports federations to sign joint declarations against Russian and Belarusian athletes' participation in international competitions and to send the documents to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other international federations.  

Lithuania and Poland have already signed such declarations.

The ministers and other sports officials "discussed the possibility of appealing to international business organizations with representative offices in the countries not to sponsor international competitions in which the aggressors' representatives take part", according to the press release.  

"The Estonian representative pointed out the possibility of appealing to broadcasters of the Olympic Games as well," it said. 

For its part, Lithuania proposes to appeal to the French government at governmental level to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes the Paris Olympics

In February, the Baltic countries and Poland urged international sports federations and the IOC to maintain the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Olympics and other international competitions.

In a joint statement signed in February, sports ministers and sports officials from 35 countries called on the IOC not to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to competitions.