Putin won't block athletes from Olympics amid anger at ban

Putin won't block athletes from Olympics amid anger at ban

Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says the state will never acknowledge the accusation of state-sponsored doping that prevents the Russia team from competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics because it considers it false. But Mutko said that the interests of Russia's athletes were his top concern. Those athletes, who would compete in neutral uniforms, would not see their country's flag or hear it's national anthem at the Games. The U.S.is trying to put pressure on worldwide sporting bodies "which has nothing in common with the ideology of the Olympic movement", Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, the Tass news service reported.

The Kremlin leader said a final decision on Russia's stance regarding the IOC ban would be made at a meeting of Russian Olympic authorities in the coming days.

In the weeks ahead of Tuesday's International Olympic Committee decision, more than 20 Russian athletes who competed at the 2014 Sochi Games were banned for life from the Olympics for having allegedly violated anti-doping rules.

At the Washington Capitals' morning skate Wednesday, Ovechkin and fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov say they will cheer for the Russian athletes who choose to go to South Korea.

"This is politics", said Medvedev, in comments broadcast on state TV.

Iran says Trump Jerusalem move will spark 'new intifada'
The Iranian president went on to say: "We have to be aware and ready in the face of the USA , the Zionist entity and their tails". He said the United States wanted to start a war in the region to protect the security of Israel.

The participation of US athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea's Pyeongchang is still an "open question" against the backdrop of the North Korea-related tensions in the region, Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said.

It's acceptable for Russian athletes to compete under the IOC's terms, two-time gold medalist pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva said, according to Interfax.

Medvedev was referring to a March presidential election in which incumbent Vladimir Putin is standing for re-election.

Russia's athletics federation, Paralympic Committee and anti-doping agency RUSADA remain suspended over doping scandals.

Mutko, who served as sports minister at the time of the 2014 Sochi Games, remained tight-lipped about the decision to ban him from the Olympics.

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