The International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic Committee on Thursday after Russia attempted to take control of sports’ governing bodies in contested areas of Ukraine.
The IOC executive board took the action at its meeting in Mumbai. The decision means the Russian Olympic Committee will not be able to operate officially and the IOC no longer will send funding.
No punishment was given to the Olympic committee of Belarus, which has supported the Russians during their 18-month military campaign inside Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Russia attempted to put the athletes from the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine under its control. In a statement, the IOC called that “a breach of the Olympic Charter” that violated the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine’s Olympic committee.
The Russian Olympic Committee responded that the suspension was “another counterproductive decision with obvious political motivations.”
Thursday’s vote does not impact the participation of Russian athletes at the Summer Olympics in Paris next year, but the IOC is under pressure to ban athletes from both Russia and Belarus.
Since the 2018 Winter Olympics, athletes from Russia have competed as independent athletes, with no Russian flags displayed or national anthem played at medal ceremonies because of state-sponsored doping.
In March, the IOC told the federations of individual sports that athletes from Russia and Belarus could be permitted to compete as neutrals.
Ukraine is threatening to pull out of the Paris Games if athletes from those countries are not barred.
“The decision for when the decision will be taken has not been made yet,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters Thursday.
–Field Level Media