European Parliament reiterates support for Ukraine and demands Russian and Belarussian athletes ban for Paris 2024

European Parliament reiterates support for Ukraine and demands Russian and Belarussian athletes ban for Paris 2024

On 16 February, the European Parliament voted in favour of a resolution marking one year of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. MEPs expressed their vehement condemnation of Russia's assault and reaffirmed their unflinching support for the Ukrainian people and government. 

Sanctions against Russia and Belarus, including the participation of Russian and Belarussian athletes in sporting competitions, were also addressed. Through this resolution, MEPs criticised, in particular, the IOC’s recent decision to consider the possibility of allowing Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete in qualifying events for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris under neutral flags. Correspondingly, the European Parliament declared that it “reiterates its condemnation of the recent decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in qualifications for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games under a neutral flag, which runs counter to those countries’ multifaceted isolation and will be used by both regimes for propaganda purposes; calls on the Member States and the international community to exert pressure on the IOC to reverse this decision, which is an embarrassment to the international world of sport, and to adopt a similar position on any other sport, cultural or scientific events”. Additionally, MEPs urged the Parliament to forward this resolution to the International Olympic Committee, among other organisations. 

It is necessary to mention that even though the IOC is currently investigating pathways to potentially allow the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus under strict conditions, it has not made any decision yet. 

MEPs also urged Member States to increase and expedite their military assistance to Ukraine, including the shipment of weapons as well as political, economic, infrastructural, financial, and humanitarian aid. Member States were also urged to rapidly implement a tenth package of sanctions against Russia, underscoring the need for Member States to stand together in the face of Russian aggression. 

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