LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The IOC says it welcomes the "strong statement" by Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for tougher action against doping in the country.

At a cabinet meeting Wednesday, Putin urged tighter anti-doping laws and greater cooperation with the IOC and World Anti-Doping Agency following the scandal which led to Russia's suspension from international track and field.

Putin also criticized Russian sports officials over the country's spate of positive tests for the recently banned drug meldonium, saying they had been slow to respond, and warned them not to "promote any conspiracy theory" to absolve themselves of responsibility.

The International Olympic Committee says "this is a strong statement that demonstrates a clear commitment by the Russian authorities to tackle this problem."

The IOC adds: "We hope that this will facilitate discussions with WADA and the IAAF in order to protect the clean athletes."