The mayor of Paris does not want Russia to compete in the Olympic Games in 2024 as long as the conflict in Ukraine continues.
Anne Hidalgo stated last month that she supported Russia competing under a neutral banner, but has since changed her mind.
Russians and Belarusians may be allowed to compete as neutrals, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Hidalgo stated that “parading as if nothing had happened” while “bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine” is impossible.
She added that a neutral banner “doesn’t really exist because sometimes there are athletes who are dissidents. They march and compete under the banner of refugees”.
“The neutral banner was a subject of doping, and that was their choice,” she went on. “I am opposed to that option. That would be completely unacceptable to me.”
Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Olympics in Paris if the IOC’s plan is implemented.
Ukrainian world heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk said any medals Russian athletes won under a neutral banner would be “medals of blood”.
“Russian Armed Forces invaded our country and killed civilians,” Usyk said in a video message to IOC President Thomas Bach posted on his official Instagram account. The Russian army is murdering Ukrainian athletes and coaches and destroying sports grounds and halls.
“The medals that Russian athletes will win are medals of blood, death, and tears. Let me wish you a peaceful sky above you, as well as good health and happiness.”
On Tuesday, the Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish Olympic Committees backed calls for the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes to be upheld, saying “now is not the right time to consider their return”.