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

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It should be noted that Russian leader Vladimir Putin said that in the upcoming Olympics in 2018 will be able to participate the Russian athletes, who will act in their personal capacity.

Russian Federation has been banned from February's Games in Pyeongchang by the International Olympic Committee for state-sponsored doping, but individual athletes who can prove they have not cheated could compete under the Olympic flag.

Mutko said that would support all the local athletes who decide to compete under a neutral flag.

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Answering a question about uncertainty surrounding the participation of USA athletes in the global sports event held on the Korean Peninsula, she said Washington would continue monitoring the situation in the region in order to ensure protection of its athletes.

Putin said that taking those thoughts into consideration, the authorities will "definitely not impede anybody or ban anyone, or create conditions for their participation to become impossible".

Asked on Fox News if athletes from the United States would be able to compete, Ms. Haley said: "There's an open question".

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But the president spoke out against the IOC's stance, saying in a comment reported by R-Sport: "It all looks like an absolutely staged and politically-motivated decision".

Addressing the strained relations and their impact on the Olympics, Ms. Haley said the Trump administration would try to "find out the best way" to protect American athletes participating in the Games. "What criteria the International Olympic Committee will use to invite our athletes, how the process will go and so on", Peskov said. He suggested that the U.S.is using the issue as a means to influence the Russian presidential election in March.

Given that the allegations about Russia's plan to sabotage the anti-doping system at Sochi 2014 have now been corroborated by two International Olympic Committee commissions and a World Anti-Doping Agency-funded investigation, the Russian athletes' chances of overturning their disqualifications look slim, as do their hopes of competing in Pyeongchang. The IOC last month stripped Zubkov of two bobsleigh gold medals he won in Sochi after finding he broke anti-doping rules, a decision he's appealing.

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