BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers have condemned the International Olympic Committee's decision to set out a path for some athletes from Russia and Belarus to try to qualify for the 2024 Paris Games.
In a resolution adopted Thursday by 444 votes in favor, 26 against and 37 abstentions, EU legislators said allowing them to compete under a neutral flag “runs counter to those countries’ multifaceted isolation and will be used by both regimes for propaganda purposes."
The IOC has argued that it would be discriminatory to exclude Russia and ally Belarus from sports ahead of the Paris Olympics. With qualifying in many sports already underway, the IOC wants athletes from those countries to compete in a neutral capacity without national symbols.
IOC president Thomas Bach and the IOC have faced widespread backlash from Ukraine and its allies, including comments directed at him by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In its resolution marking one year of the war, the EU Parliament urged the 27 EU countries and the international community to pressure the IOC to reverse its decision, “which is an embarrassment to the international world of sport."
Lawmakers also asked member states to seriously consider sending fighter jets to Ukraine and said Russian assets frozen by the EU should be used to rebuild Ukraine. They also asked for broadened sanctions against Moscow and demanded that accession talks for Ukraine's EU membership start this year.
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