TALLINN – Estonian Minister of Culture Piret Hartman said in a conversation with Ukrainian Youth and Sports Minister Vadym Huttsait held via video bridge on Monday that Russian and Belarusian athletes have no place in major competitions.
"Russian and Belarusian athletes have no place behind the same starting line as our athletes. Top international sports are always political and we are doing everything we can to ensure that citizens of aggressor countries are not welcome guests at major competitions," Hartman said.
"I assured my Ukrainian colleague that we are still ready to make statements in support of Ukraine at international meetings and our sports organizations are ready to cooperate closely with their organizations," the minister added.
Huttsait told her how the Ukrainian sports sector is suffering heavy losses every day during the war.
"In addition to fallen athletes and coaches, the sports infrastructure suffers, many sports facilities have been destroyed. Next year, when qualification for the Summer Olympics begins, it will be of key importance to prevent athletes from aggressor countries from competing, including under a neutral flag," Hartman said.
"For Russia, sport is a propaganda tool. A weapon of war, the use of which we must prevent. Huttsait thanked us for our support and asked for our help in the implementation of the next sanctions. They will definitely get this help from us," the minister added.