IPC to discuss Russia on Wednesday ahead of Beijing Games

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Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games - The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - September 5, 2021. The International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons speaks during the closing ceremony REUTERS/Issei Kato

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Feb 28 (Reuters) - The International Paralympic Committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss Russia ahead of this week's Beijing Winter Games, as athletes from Ukraine and other nations urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and IPC to suspend Russia and Belarus.

Calls for a blanket ban of Russia in sport following Russia's invasion of Ukraine grew louder after athletes wrote an open letter to IOC President Thomas Bach and IPC chief Andrew Parsons, urging the bodies to suspend Russia and Belarus and ban their athletes from events immediately. read more

The IPC said it would be discussing Russia at a board meeting on Wednesday, two days before the start of the March 4-13 Paralympics.

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"The IPC Board when discussing this matter at Wednesday’s Board meeting will focus on the IPC Constitution and the rules of the IPC handbook," the IPC told Reuters in a statement on Monday.

"Wednesday is the earliest this meeting can take place with Board members in transit coming to Beijing from around world."

Some 650 athletes from 49 national paralympic committees, including the Russian, will take part.

The IOC has said international sports federations should either move or cancel sports events currently planned in Russia or Belarus, while the IOC's executive said Russian and Belarusian national flags should not be displayed at international sports events. read more

Ukraine's health ministry said on Sunday that 352 civilians, including 14 children, had been killed since Russia's invasion of the country last week. Belarus has been a key staging area for the invasion.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation".

Earlier, Germany's elite athletes' grouping said a complete ban of all Russian sports bodies, athletes and officials as well as events in the country was the necessary response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. read more

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Reporting by Manasi Pathak and Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru Editing by Christian Radnedge

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