Moscow says Russian Olympic ban designed to sour pre-election mood

Moscow says Russian Olympic ban designed to sour pre-election mood

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week to ban the Russian team from competing at next year's Winter Olympics had been deliberately taken to sour the pre-election mood.

FILE PHOTO - Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visit the Resurrection New Jerusalem Monastery at Istra, outside Moscow, Russia November 15, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week to ban the Russian team from competing at next year's Winter Olympics had been deliberately taken to sour the pre-election mood.

Medvedev was referring to a March presidential election in which incumbent Vladimir Putin is standing for re-election.

"This is politics," said Medvedev, in comments broadcast on state TV.

"The decision was made in the run-up to the presidential elections in our country, aiming to create a certain mood in our society. Abroad, they understand very well the importance attached in our country to high achievement sports. For millions of our people, the decision was a heavy blow."

Medvedev, addressing the government, said that allegations that Russia had run a state-sponsored doping programme in sport were "an outright lie."

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh/Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

Source: Reuters

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