UN expert: Soldiers who voluntarily go to war for Russia should start at the Olympics

UN expert: Soldiers who voluntarily go to war for Russia should start at the Olympics
There are protests against the idea of ​​the IOC.
Image: APA/Vano Shlamov

A little less than 500 days before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, the IOC is upping the ante on the controversial reintegration of Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Not enough that IOC President Thomas Bach recently spoke out in favor of admitting athletes from the two war-mongering countries, there is now another push coming from the United Nations (UN).

Alexandra Xanthaki, UN expert on minority rights, even spoke out in favor of allowing Russian and Belarusian soldiers to compete in the Olympics in a meeting with athletes’ spokesmen. “I don’t think it makes sense to exclude Russian soldiers and all Russian military personnel,” says the Greek.

When asked by the Ukrainian skeleton pilot Vladyslav Heraskevych whether soldiers who voluntarily and gladly go to war should be suspended, Xanthaki clarified on Twitter: “No. They should be suspended if they have committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide or engaged in war propaganda.”

Just last month, Xanthaki publicly praised the IOC’s course on reintegration. This course is met with a wave of protest.

Poland demands the exclusion

Poland has spoken out against the return of athletes from Russia and Belarus to international competitions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw announced on Monday that it was concerned that the IOC wanted to revise its well-founded position not to invite or admit athletes from these countries to international competitions. The IOC Executive Committee meets on Tuesday.

Russia and Belarus have a way of letting their athletes return to the sports community, it said: “Namely, ending the war of aggression that Russia started with Belarus’ cooperation and restoring respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

At its meeting in Lausanne on Tuesday, the IOC Executive Committee will decide on key points to ensure that the conditions for Russian and Belarusian athletes to start are respected.

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