MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted China’s invitation to attend the Beijing Olympics in February 2022, the RIA news agency quoted Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Thursday.
Russian athletes are barred from competing at major international events, including the Olympics, with their flag and anthem until December 2022. The country will compete at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February under the name “ROC”, an acronym for the Russian Olympic Committee.
Russian government officials also cannot be issued an Olympic accreditation unless they are invited by the head of state of the host nation.
The ban is aimed at punishing Moscow for providing global anti-doping authorities with doctored laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.
Many Russian athletes were sidelined from the past two Olympics, and the country’s flag was banned at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Russia has in the past acknowledged some shortcomings in its implementation of anti-doping policies, but it denies running a state-sponsored doping programme.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, Editing by Nick Zieminski)