Selenski warns of “terror state Russia” at the Olympics
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), headed by Thomas Bach, not to allow Russia to compete. “The Olympic principles and war are fundamentally opposed to each other,” said the head of state in Kyiv on Saturday. He published a series of photos on social networks of sports facilities in Ukraine that had been destroyed by the war. Some of the photos show fencers in ruins – in direct allusion to Bach’s own sporting career.
The IOC leadership recently announced that it wanted to open up opportunities for athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in international competitions under neutral flags.
“Russia must stop aggression and terror, and only then will it be possible to talk about Russia’s participation in the context of the Olympic movement,” said Zelensky. The evening before, in his daily video message, he had announced a campaign against the admission of Russian athletes to the Olympic Games. He justifies this with the loyalty of the athletes to the state and their instrumentalization by politics.
Selenski was disappointed after talks with Bach and accused the IOC of hypocrisy. “There can be no neutrality when such a war is going on. We know how often tyrannies try to use sport for their ideological interests,” Zelensky said. Bach’s motives are not clear to him, but Ukraine will do everything to prevent the “influence of the terrorist state” on the sport.
In addition, Selenski invited “Bach to Bachmut” to get an idea of the destruction in the currently particularly hard-fought city in eastern Ukraine. “So that he can see with his own eyes that neutrality does not exist.” Today, Ukrainian athletes have to save the lives of their loved ones from Russian aggression. Many Ukrainians were killed by Russian attacks, who could have enriched world sport with their talent.