In Ukraine, the Ministry of Sports has banned official delegations from participating in international competitions with Russians and Belarusians. The ministry decree was published on Friday night. In the event of violations, the national sports federations are threatened with the withdrawal of their official status. Participation of Russians and Belarusians in international competitions should be monitored by the federations themselves.

At the end of March, the regulation was preceded by a cabinet decision. Earlier, Kiev had already discussed a boycott of the Summer Olympics in Paris next year, should Russian or Belarusian athletes be admitted to them.

Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Hutzajt had already warned Ukrainian athletes in a press release on Wednesday of consequences if they ignore the boycott: "We are at war. We have to demonstrate unity in order to get through this. Our common goal is to survive." Under such conditions, Ukraine cannot understand the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), nor will it support it.

A few weeks ago, the IOC recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus should be allowed to compete in international competitions again as neutral athletes under certain conditions. There had been a lot of criticism of the decision.

Russia invaded Ukraine almost 14 months ago. Belarus, which is allied with Moscow, allows Russian attacks from its territory. "We should not forget that all Ukrainian athletes have now lost someone, friend or family member," Hutzajt said. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Sport, around 300 athletes and coaches have now died in the course of the war. In addition, more than 340 sports facilities are said to have been destroyed.