This was stated by Vice-President of the European Commission for the promotion of our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, who is on a visit to Kyiv on Thursday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
"I’m well aware, and we discussed it last time, of the issue of Russia and Belarus athletes because without saying that no one, no one who has participated in, or lauded, or praised the invasion should be allowed to participate in international (competitions – ed.)," Schinas said.
At the same time, he added that the role of the EU is limited by the autonomy in decision-making by national sports federations and the international Olympic movement.
"This is an objective difficulty and I’ve insisted with our friends at the International Olympic Committee that any decisions should exclude those individuals who have been in any way – in social media or in public statements – actively or indirectly – in favor of the aggression," the European official emphasized.
“I was assured that this was the case,” the official stressed. “Let’s see, we will be monitoring but this is the most I can get as far as my competence.”
As Ukrinform reported earlier, the International Olympic Committee announced its intention to allow athletes from the Russian Federation and Belarus to perform at international competitions under a neutral flag. At the same time, IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the support for the Ukrainians, but warned against the interference of national governments in the decision of the Committee regarding the admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes to the Olympics.
Later, 30 sports ministers of more than 30 countries appealed to the IOC to refrain from once again allowing athletes from the Russian Federation and Belarus to participate in the next Olympics – even under a neutral flag.
At the same time, Minister of Youth and Sports Vadym Gutzeit said that, despite the autonomy of national sports federations in decision-making on whether to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in international competitions on their soil, individual governments still can pass decisions on banning entry for Russian and Belarusian nationals, which would be a certain way to express support to war-torn Ukraine.