Russian members of the International Olympic Committee can participate in this week’s IOC session in spite Russia’s seizure of Ukraine, with the Olympic body stating on Monday they are not spokespersons of their country.

Russia currently has 2 members on the IOC with former pole jumping Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva and Shamil Tarpishchev.

Longstanding former member Vitaly Smirnov is a titular IOC member.

“Under the Olympic Charter, the IOC members are not representatives of their country within the IOC,” an IOC spokesperson stated in response to questions by Reuters on the qualification of Russian IOC members at the session.

“They are on the contrary elected as individuals by the IOC and then delegated as ambassadors of the IOC to the sports organisations in their country.”

The representative stated Isinbayeva, who sits on the IOC’s athletes’ commission among others, did not take part in the latest commission calls, without giving further details.

The IOC is conducting its executive board and session from Wednesday to Friday with members either participating in person in Lausanne, Switzerland, or online.

Since the seizure of Ukraine in February, which Moscow calls a ‘special military operation’, many sports bodies have shifted events and suspended Russian teams or athletes whilst sponsors have finished contracts in demonstration.

The IOC has suggested events in Russia be abandoned or shifted and that Russian and Belarusian athletes not participate or compete under a neutral flag.

It has issued no sanctions counter the Russian Olympic Committee and its leadership or against the Russian members of the IOC.

“The IOC makes sure that the National Olympic Committees, IOC members and national officials who do not support the war are not made responsible for the decisions of their government and are protected,” the representative stated.

“The IOC continues to closely monitor the situation and reserves the right to adapt the measures depending on further developments.”

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