Ukraine athletes accuse IOC of 'being on the wrong side of history' amid Russian athlete row

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Ukraine's athletes have accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of "being on the wrong side of history" amid the latter's stance on Russian athletes at Paris 2024.

Ukraine, who were invaded by their neighbours last year, were incensed by the IOC examining whether to allow representatives from Russia and Belarus to compete under a neutral flag in next year's global showpiece.

IOC president Thomas Bach criticised threats made by Ukraine to subsequently boycott the Games as a violation of the Olympic charter, further angering the nation.

In a statement issued in conjunction with union Global Athlete, the country's National Olympic Committee accused the IOC of allowing Russia to sportswash its crimes.

"The IOC is rewarding [Russian president Vladimir] Putin's aggression while the death and destruction of his victims are being ignored," they wrote. "The IOC must choose a side in this war.

"The Russian state [used] its home Olympic Games in 2014, along with a state-sponsored doping program, to build goodwill both at home and abroad before annexing Crimea.

"In 2022 it did the same, using the Beijing Games to strengthen its bond with China before invading Ukraine.

"Russia has promoted athletes to prominent positions in the armed forces and touted athletic success as signs of Russian superiority.

"These actions have been possible because Russia has manipulated and controlled the governing bodies of sport to its advantage.

"The IOC continues to be on the wrong side of history. Sponsors, host cities, and national governments must stop tolerating the IOC's kowtowing to Russia."

The statement comes after former Olympic medallist and current world heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk urged the IOC to uphold bans against Russian and Belarusian athletes.