Lithuania demands Olympic ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes until war in Ukraine ends

Russia is banned from the Olympic Games but its athletes are not  (AP)
Russia is banned from the Olympic Games but its athletes are not (AP)

Lithuania’s parliament on Friday called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other sports bodies to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition until war in Ukraine has ended, war criminals are prosecuted and reparations paid.

Parliament in its motion said it was certain any victories by Russian or Belarusian athletes at the Olympics and elsewhere would be exploited for propaganda purposes by the governments in Moscow and Minsk.

Ukraine has spearheaded a call to ban athletes from Russia and its close ally Belarus from the Paris 2024 Games after the IOC in January said it was open to including Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals.

In February, more than 30 countries including the United States, Britain and France pledged their support for a ban, which the Russia in turn called “unacceptable”.

The Lithuanian parliament, which passed the motion unanimously, was the first national legislature to call for a ban, according to country’s ministry of education, science and sport.

Last week, African Olympic committees passed a resolution supporting the participation of the athletes at the Paris 2024 summer Olympics as neutrals.