Olympia – Putin criticizes political boycott of Winter Games

Moscow (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the political boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics as unacceptable.

“This is an unacceptable and wrong decision,” the 69-year-old said at his major annual press conference in Moscow with the goal of a political boycott of the United States and other countries. Sports should not be used for political purposes. “We have always been against the politicization of sports,” Putin said. Unlike fellow American Joe Biden, the Kremlin chief will travel to Beijing in February for the Games.

The political boycott of China was due to attempts to halt the country’s development. “There can be no other motive behind this.” The head of the Kremlin said that sports, like culture, should unite people and not create problems in relations between peoples and states. “If sport is deprived of this fundamental value, the entire international community will be harmed.” This is a mistake”.

The United States has announced that it will not send diplomatic or official representatives to the Games in China. Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom followed suit. Nor does New Zealand want to send diplomatic representatives. China has been criticized for human rights abuses in its dealings with Uyghurs and Tibetans, for its suppression of the democratic movement in Hong Kong, and for threats against Taiwan.

Chancellor Olaf Schultz said he had not yet made a decision on a possible diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games. French President Emmanuel Macron had already made it clear that he did not consider a diplomatic boycott useful.

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© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211223-99-492273 / 2

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