Zelenskiy urges Olympic sponsors to keep Russia out of Games

The Olympic rings are pictured in front of the IOC headquarters in Lausanne
The Olympic rings are pictured in front of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

LVIV, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Ukraine has sent letters to companies that back the International Olympic Committee urging them to keep Russian athletes out of the Paris Olympic Games, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday.

Zelenskiy has been spearheading a drive to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in the games under a neutral flag. Zelenskiy has said their presence would normalise Russia's invasion of his country and make "terror" acceptable.

"Ukraine has sent appropriate letters to the companies that provide the biggest support for the International Olympic Committee," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

"These are large international companies who clearly have an interest in ensuring that their reputation and support is not used for war propaganda."

The IOC said in late January that the Olympic Council of Asia had offered Russian and Belarusian athletes the chance to compete in Asia, drawing an outcry from Kyiv which has called for Russian athletes to be banned over Russia's invasion.

The committee said later it was standing by sanctions imposed against Russia, which invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago and Belarus whose authorities provided support for the invasion.

Read more:

Ukraine mourns athlete-soldier amid opposition to Russians at Olympics

Ukraine buries boxing coach whose kitchen wall was torn off in Russian attack

Reporting by Ron Popeski and Nick Starkov; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.