Relations between Ukraine and the International Olympic Committee are heating up.
After the appeal of the president Volodymyr Zelensky at the International Sports Federations so that they do not accept the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and the accusations against the IOC of being “a promoter of war, murder and destruction” from the Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhaylo Podolyak, comes the answer from the self-governing body chaired by Bach:
“The International Olympic Committee rejects in the strongest possible terms this and other defamatory statements which cannot serve as a basis for any constructive discussion.”
On Wednesday, the IOC said it was considering allowing athletes from Russia and Belarus, nations at war with Ukraine, to participate in the next edition of the Olympic Games, to be held in Paris next year, under a flag neutral.
In the last twenty-four hours there have been criticisms from many quarters against this eventuality.
First, President Zelensky’s appeal via a video posted on his social profile.
Then the statements by the representatives of two of the Baltic republics: Kaja Kallas, president of Estonia, and by the foreign minister of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, according to whom it is an “immoral decision” which risks making the IOC an accomplice of Russia.
Then the harsh accusation of the Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhaylo Podolyak: “For Russia, sport is a propaganda tool and to ignore it is to support aggression.”
In fact, on his Twitter profile we read: “The IOC is a promoter of war, murder and destruction. The IOC happily watches Russia destroy Ukraine and then offers Russia a platform to promote genocide” (of the Ukrainians ed).
Then addressing Thomas Bach directly, the German official who leads the IOC: “Obviously the money that buys Olympic hypocrisy does not smell of Ukrainian blood. Isn’t that right, Herr Bach?”
Now the response of the Committee, yes, indignant, but which perhaps hides the embarrassment of having to face and resolve an issue that risks generating even deeper fractures between nations.