Estonia signs joint statement calling for Russian and Belarusian sports ban
Estonia is one of 34 nations, which have signed a statement calling for Russia and Belarus to be banned from international sporting organizations.
According to the press service of the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the statement stresses that Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, which is supported by the Belarusian government, is unacceptable and a serious violation of the Russian Federation's international obligations.
"International sport is in no way separate from politics at the moment, and Russia and Belarus use sport to achieve their strategic goals," said Liina Kersna in her role as acting culture minister.
"With this joint statement, we send a clear signal that the aggressors are not welcome on the same sports fields (or in the same) competitions as us," Kersna added.
The statement, which was signed by representatives of 25 European Union countries, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, emphasized that, while sports organizations are considered autonomous, Russian and Belarusian membership in international sporting associations should be suspended.
The signatories also called for individuals with close ties to Russia and Belarus, including government officials, to be removed from influential positions in international sports federations.
The joint statement stressed that, in sporting events where national governing bodies allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate, their use of national symbols must be prohibited, along with other measures taken to make it clear that they do not represent the Russian or Belarusian state. It also called for national and international organizations to stop broadcasting sporting events in Russia and Belarus.
The 34 countries signing the statement additionally called on the international sporting community to continue showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine by supporting, where possible, the continuation and restoration of Ukrainian sports activities.
A similar statement was previously issued on March 8.
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Editor: Michael Cole