(Moscow) Russia denounced on Friday a “neutralization” campaign targeting its best athletes, whose participation in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games under a neutral banner is compromised by “humiliating” criteria from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), according to it.

Last week, the International Olympic Committee authorized Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris (July 26-August 11), under several conditions: under a neutral barrier, excluding team events, if they have not actively supported the Russian offensive in Ukraine and whether they cleared the qualification hurdle.

To date, there are only 11 in this case, eight Russians and three Belarusians, against around sixty Ukrainians, the IOC specified during its announcement.

“With its invented criteria and parameters which not only go against the Olympic Charter, but also completely devalue its principles, the IOC has launched an intentional campaign to “neutralize” our athletes,” the President of the Committee reacted on Friday. Russian Olympic Games, Stanislav Pozdniakov, during his annual press conference.

“These artificial and politically motivated conditions eliminate the overwhelming majority of leading athletes and place those who remain in a situation of inequality, simply excluding honest competition,” he said.

Thus, the number of 11 eligible athletes “advanced by the IOC is humiliating,” added Mr. Pozdniakov, emphasizing that “thousands of athletes” had “been physically deprived of their dream.”

He also called on Russian athletes eligible under the IOC criteria to “carefully consider all the nuances of the proposed conditions,” so as not to become “hostages of the interests of others,” without elaborating.

Thursday, during his annual press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin also criticized the IOC’s decision, judging that the body was taking the risk of “burying the Olympic movement”.

He added that he wanted to “carefully analyze the conditions” before making a final decision on the participation or boycott of Russian athletes in Paris 2024.