Ministers from around 40 countries to discuss IOC decision on Russian athletes

  • 2023-02-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Ministers from around 40 countries are expected to take part in a remote meeting, initiated by Lithuanian Education, Science and Sport Minister Jurgita Siugzdiniene, on Friday to discuss a common position on the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Olympics under a neutral flag.

The Lithuanian ministry has told BNS that Friday's meeting will be moderated by representatives from the United Kingdom.

Siugzdiniene said on Facebook on Thursday that Nordic and Baltic sport ministers had held a joint meeting on Tuesday to discuss their positions on the issue.   

"We are all united in our position that the aggressor countries' athletes should be barred from participating in the Olympics until Russia and Belarus stop their aggression against Ukraine," the minister said.

"We will have a discussion with other EU and world countries on Friday," she added. 

The IOC suggested last month that Russians and Belarusians should be allowed to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics as "neutral athletes".

"No athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport," it said in a statement. 

The Baltic states and Poland say they do not support such a move, and Latvia is even considering boycotting the Olympics if Russian athletes take part.