Ukrainian official Vadim Gutzeit repeated his calls for a total sporting ban on Russian stars
Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina and Russia’s Anastasia Potapova faced each other in Mexico back in March. © Gonzalo Gonzalez / Jam Media / Getty Images
Ukrainian athletes are prepared to boycott any events attended by Russians, even in a neutral capacity, according to Sports Minister Vadim Gutzeit as he renewed demands for a blanket ban at international events.
“If athletes from Russia and Belarus are allowed to participate in competitions, Ukrainian athletes are ready to block their performances and boycott such competitions,” Gutzeit said in a social media message.
Gutzeit claimed that the conflict with Russia “has already taken the lives of over 70 Ukrainian athletes and coaches.”
“Representatives of the Russian Federation are looking for an opportunity to declare themselves in the international arena, performing under a neutral white flag,” Gutzeit argued.
“This is unacceptable. Athletes from these countries cannot participate in international competitions either under their own [Russian flag] or under neutral flags.”
The minister accused any Russian athlete who does not speak out against the conflict of “tacitly” supporting the killings of Ukrainians.