MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the political boycott of the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing as unacceptable.
“This is an unacceptable and wrong decision,” the 69-year-old said at his big annual news conference in Moscow in view of the political boycott of the United States and other countries. The game should not be used for political purposes. “We have always been against the politicization of sport,” Putin said. Unlike its US ally Joe Biden, the Kremlin will travel to Beijing in February for the opening of major games.
The political boycott of China was caused by efforts to halt the development of the country. “There can be no other motive behind this.” The Kremlin chief said that sport, 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 suffer.” It is a mistake.
The US had announced that it would not send diplomats or official representatives to the Games in China. Australia, Canada and the UK followed suit. New Zealand also does not want to send a diplomatic representative. China has been criticized for human rights violations in its dealings with Uighurs and Tibetans, suppressing the democracy movement in Hong Kong, and threats against Taiwan.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he had not yet decided on a possible diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games. French President Emmanuel Macron has already made it clear that he does not consider the diplomatic boycott helpful.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211223-99-492273/2
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