Belarus' MP comments on situation with Russian athletes and 2018 Olympic Games

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Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said he would support Russian athletes participating in the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea, even though the Russian flag and anthem will be absent. "First and foremost you need to protect athletes", - quoted Mutko "Federal news Agency". As sports minister in 2014, he was deeply implicated in the Sochi doping plot by two International Olympic Committee commissions and a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation.

Dvorkovich did hit out at the IOC, saying its actions "actions pose a manifestation of disrespect to the Olympic Games", he said. Now is not the time to think about yourself.

Russian authorities have vehemently denied any state support for doping and pledged to cooperate with global sports authorities to counter the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs. The decision came after 14-person panel was presented with the results of two separate investigations of alleged Russian doping - one concerning individual athletes, the other institutional violations.

The report of the IOC's Disciplinary Commission, on which the ban is based, avoids politicised generalisations about the existence of a "state-run" doping system in Russian Federation.

Having consistently denied the allegations of a state-backed doping campaign, Russian Federation was banned from PyeongChang 2018 on Tuesday over the country's "systemic manipulation" of the rules, following a 17-month investigation carried out by the former president of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid. It is yet unclear who will bear the expenses related to the participation of Russian athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

In Russia's case, it is an unprecedented event of attacks by WADA on a country, on the basis of evidence falsified by a person with a mental unbalance who committed crimes by doping national athletes, he pointed out. The Pyeongchang organising committee said Wednesday it would prefer if Russians competed under their own flag, but accepted as "second-best" the decision to allow their participation as neutrals.

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In addition to the 2018 ban for Russia's representation as a country, the IOC fined the Russian Olympic Committee $15 million and suspended its president, Alexander Zhukov, as an IOC member.

Asked on Fox News if athletes from the United States would be able to compete, Haley said: "There's an open question. I have not heard anything about that, but I do know in the talks that we have - whether it's Jerusalem or North Korea - it's about, how do we protect the USA citizens in the area?" "But I never said that and I support the hockey team's decision", he said.

"If you're working with a nation who's willing to go to those ends to have a successful Olympics, that's really sad for me", added the 22-year-old Shiffrin, who is the Olympic slalom champion and victor of the last three slalom World Championships.

"We all know the athletes who will be going to the Olympics and their uniform will have the white, red and blue colours", Dvorkovich told state media.

Sweeping sanctions allow the regime to say to Russians: "These measures are against you as well as us; they are imposed by your enemies, Russia's enemies".

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