The International Olympic Committee (IOC) governing body has announced that athletes from Russia and Belarus will not take part in the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, stating that Russia is “attempting to politicize sport.”

Russian and Belarusian athletes must compete under a neutral banner at the event without any flags or imagery relating to their homelands and will be referred to as “Individual Neutral Athletes” (AINs), with the IOC’s executive board stating that medals they accrue will not appear on the medal table for the games and that AIN athletes may only compete in individual sports.

AIN athletes may yet be permitted to participate in the closing ceremony, as the IOC stated it has yet to make a decision on that matter.

These measures are a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supported by Belarus, and follow similiar guidance outlined by the IOC's Paralympics equivalent earlier in 2024.

Furthermore, the IOC states that any athlete showcasing active support of the war will not be allowed to compete at the games, as will any athletes currently contracted to a Russian or Belarusian military branch.

The announcement of the rules surrounding AIN athletes at the games was published alongside a statement from the IOC railing against Russia and Belarus for attempting to “politicize” sport.

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Russia’s planned Friendship Games, set to run after the Paris Olympics, has been declared by the IOC as a “cynical” attempt by the country to utilize sport for a political motive.

The IOC stated: “The Olympic Movement strongly condemns any initiative to fully politicize sport, in particular the establishment of fully politicized sports events by the Russian government.”

Adding that Russia is in violation of the Olympic Charter, infringing upon United Nations resolutions, and showing “disrespect” to the athletes themselves and the integrity of sports, the IOC firmly condemned the country’s actions and urged nations to not participate in or support initiatives that it claims seek to politicize sports.

The IOC also criticized Russia for showing a “total disregard” for the Olympics’ anti-doping standards and stated that all AIN athletes set to compete at Paris 2024 must comply with all relevant anti-doping regulations as standard.

IOC president Thomas Bach also made a separate claim on Tuesday that Russia's government is becoming increasingly aggressive towards the Olympic body as the Paris games draw near.

He told French daily Le Monde: “As far as their participation is concerned, we have heard the rather polite signal (from the Russian sports minister) … but on the other hand, we've also seen the government's very aggressive comments.

“The IOC doesn't comment, but we can see that the government's aggressiveness is growing by the day, against the IOC, against the games, against me.

“They range from 'fascist' to 'destroyer of the Games and the Olympic movement'. And it all comes from Russian officials. I don't know if it's coming from Vladimir Putin himself, I don't look at Telegram every day, I'm not that masochistic, but the attacks are coming from all levels.”