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Russia says Olympic ban part of broader attack on Russia

Adecision by the International Olympic Committee to bar Russia’s team from next year’s Winter Olympics is part of a larger international campaign to pressure Russia, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

She told a news conference that because attempts to isolate Russia economically and politically had failed, the focus of Russia’s adversaries had switched to sport instead.

Russia will have to carefully analyse the International Olympic Committee’s decision to ban the country from the 2018 Pyeongchang Games before taking any measures, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.

The IOC banned Russia on Tuesday from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games after evidence emerged of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system.

The door was left open, however, for Russians to compete as an “Olympic Athlete of Russia” as long as they satisfy strict conditions that show they have a doping-free background.

“Now, of course, we need to cast aside emotions and quite seriously analyse the decisions taken by the IOC regarding our country before making any judgment on this matter,” Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Peskov, who said earlier this week that Russia had no plans to boycott the Pyeongchang Games if the IOC imposed restrictions on its participation, added Moscow wanted to maintain ties with the IOC.

“Once again we repeat that the situation is serious and requires deep analysis,” he said. “It wouldn’t be right to give in to emotions.”