OREANDA-NEWS  The Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine lifted the ban on the participation of its athletes in international competitions with Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in a neutral status. This follows from the decree published on the ministry's website.

The ban on Ukrainian athletes to compete in tournaments with Russians and Belarusians has been in effect since April. In July, the Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine Vadim Gutzeit said that the issue of lifting restrictions is being discussed.

The new document signed by Gutzeit prohibits sending the national teams of Ukraine only to those competitions where Russians and Belarusians perform under their flags or emphasize their nationality by their public actions or statements.

The President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov positively perceived this decision.

"I have always said that sport is and should be outside politics. Therefore, any political interference in sports is an absolute evil. In this case, reason has triumphed," TASS quotes Pozdnyakov.

"Of course, we will invite Ukrainians and ensure the safety of their stay in Russia, as well as equal rights at competitions," Match TV quotes Matytsin.

Olympic champion in speed skating, State Duma deputy Svetlana Zhurova in an interview with "Gazeta.Ru" stressed that athletes compete at tournaments, not countries, which is why such bans do not make sense. As an example, she cited the refusal of Ukrainian Igor Reizlin to enter a duel against Russian Vadim Anokhin at the World Fencing Championships. Zhurova also did not rule out that international sports federations took the path of pressure on Ukraine to lift this ban.

"There was a situation with a fencer who refused to compete with a Russian because he did not understand what the reaction would be if he came out — especially if he lost. I think it was easier for him not to come out. When belonging to a country becomes an obstacle in sports, it is wrong.

It turns out that not athletes compete on the fencing track, but countries, but this is unacceptable for sports. A number of states in the world are in conflict — so then they should not go against each other either?

At the Olympic Games, this is generally prohibited: if any country behaves like this, it can be suspended. A special commission can consider this and impose a serious punishment. It is clear that there have been no such precedents in international federations, but, apparently, some points will also have to be considered.