Russian athletes not welcome at Olympics - Nordic, Baltic sports ministers

  • 2023-02-07
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Athletes from the aggressor countries are not welcome in international sports competitions, including the Olympic Games, the ministers of sports of the Baltic and Nordic countries said at a video meeting convened by Estonia's Minister of Culture Piret Hartman and her Finnish counterpart Petri Honkonen on Tuesday.

In the meeting, the sports ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland talked about the efforts of the International Olympic Committee to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to return to the international sports arena under certain conditions.

"We were unanimous with our Baltic and Nordic counterparts -- the war in the heart of Europe, Ukraine, is not over and the restrictions on Russian and Belarusian athletes must not be eased. Athletes from the aggressor countries are not welcome in international sporting competitions, including the Olympic Games. We will not let the issue die down, like-minded countries must speak boldly with one voice on this issue," the Estonian minister of culture said.

On Friday, the Estonian minister, at the invitation of the UK's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Michelle Donelan, will attend a video meeting open to sports ministers from all countries, which will also focus on the participation of athletes from the aggressor countries in international sports. 

Last week, the sports ministers of the Baltic countries and Poland issued a joint statement stressing that sports organizations should not change their condemning stance towards Russia and Belarus. The ministers stressed that allowing representatives of aggressor states to attend major sports events would legitimize their political decisions and distract attention from the attack on Ukraine.