Putin: Russians not prevented from competing at Winter Olympics under neutral flag

No Russian

The IOC does not take that away from individual Russian athletes, who can apply directly to the IOC to compete.

The International Olympic Committee has banned the Russian team from games as punishment for doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Mr. Putin rejected the claims and said the ban was "politically motivated".

The IOC on Tuesday banned Russian Federation from the Olympics after evidence emerged of an "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system.

"The Russian Olympic Committee is suspended with immediate effect", said IOC President Thomas Bach.

He said including the word "Russia" in the team name was a key issue.

We will not influence in any way each athlete who will have to decide whether they participate or not in the Olympics. Nor are Russian athletes banned from accepting government funds - in effect, taxpayers' funds - so they can travel and compete in the Games.

"Russia has been punished, including the government in the guise of Mutko, but there exists a way out for those athletes who have nothing to do with this".

Infographic: Who are the world doping champions?

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Asked whether Russian hockey players should participate in the Games or boycott them, Ovechkin said the athletes should compete.

However, Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy speaker of the State Duma, the Russian parliament's lower house, has called for a boycott. "I support them", Ovechkin said.

Alexei Kravtsov, president of the Russian Skating Union, said: "The decision is offensive, insulting and completely unjustified".

We work with our own doping cases, but we will never recognize the lies about our sports system spread by WADA, as one of the conditions that they demand from us to allow our delegation to travel to South Korea, Medvedev said. "But I don't think anything will change".

— Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko is banned from the Olympics for life. "I have not heard anything about that, but I do know in the talks that we have - whether it's Jerusalem or North Korea - it's about, how do we protect the USA citizens in the area?" "We shouldn't be thinking that winning at any price shows the greatness of our motherland, but we rather have to think of fairness in sports'".

It has so far handed out lifetime bans to 25 Russian competitors since the start of November and stripped 11 medals, which means Russia has dropped from first in the Sochi medal table, to fourth behind Norway, Canada and the US.

Bach said he hoped those attending would "represent a new generation of clean Russian athletes in the Games and build a bridge into a clean future of Russian sport".

For almost a decade now, the Russians have been running a doping operation that would make El Chapo jealous. It blames Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Moscow and Sochi testing laboratories, as a rogue employee.

Then, on Monday, the United States began military drills with South Korea that were to include simulated strikes on the North's nuclear and missile sites, leading Pyongyang to accuse Washington of pushing the peninsula "to the brink of nuclear war".

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