MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Friday a court ruling partially upholding Russia's Olympic doping ban was regrettable and that Moscow viewed it negatively, though it added it was good the sanctions would still allow Russian athletes to compete.
Russian athletes will be barred from competing under the country's flag at major international events, including the Olympics, until 2022 after a Swiss court on Thursday upheld doping sanctions but halved the original four-year ban.
"Of course we regret this (ruling), we view it negatively," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "But at the same time, the main thing is that athletes are getting the right to take part in competitions" as neutral competitors.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said the measures were "the strongest set of consequences ever imposed on any country for doping-related offences."
Russian officials, despite their disappointment at more sanctions, focused on the fact the outcome was not worse and that Russians will still be taking part in the world's most prestigious sporting events.
"The outcome today is a victory for Russia," Mikhail Bukhanov, acting director of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, said on Thursday. "CAS did not restrict clean athletes' right to compete at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as at world championships."
Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said it was "positive" that the sanctions would only last until December 2022, instead of four years.
(Reporting by Maxim Rodionov; Writing by Tom Balmforth and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alison Williams and Mark Potter)