President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting in Kyiv with President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach.
The Head of State emphasized that the Russian invasion brutally affected Ukrainian sports as well.
"More than a hundred thousand Ukrainian athletes do not have the opportunity of training. Hundreds of sports facilities were destroyed: these are both large sports infrastructure facilities and facilities based on Ukrainian schools, universities and sports clubs," he said.
In addition, according to the President, many Ukrainian athletes joined the Armed Forces to defend our country on the front. To date, 89 athletes and coaches died as a result of hostilities, 13 were captured and are in Russian captivity.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Thomas Bach for the decision to allocate a new support package for Ukrainian Olympians.
During the meeting, the parties also discussed the restoration of sports infrastructure in Ukraine. This issue will be raised both at the conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine in Lugano, Switzerland these days, and at the special donor conference, which will be held under the auspices of the IOC.
The President of Ukraine and the President of the International Olympic Committee drew attention to the need to continue international efforts to prevent representatives of the terrorist state from participating in international sports competitions.
"It cannot be allowed that a terrorist state uses sports to promote its political interests and propaganda. I am grateful to Mr. President for his unwavering position regarding the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes from official competitions under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee. While Russia is trying to destroy the Ukrainian people and conquer other European countries, its representatives have no place in the world's sports community," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
For his part, the President of the IOC assured the Head of State of his unchanged position regarding the continuation of the policy of recommendations to international federations not to invite Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions.
"The time has not yet come to lift such a ban," Thomas Bach emphasized.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the President of the IOC also discussed the strategy for the development of Ukrainian sports after the war.
"I have no doubt that after our victory we will be able to provide all necessary conditions for holding international sports events at the highest level in Ukraine. Our athletes, our country, have already made a significant contribution to the development of the Olympic movement. But our opportunities are much greater, and we will certainly implement them," the President is convinced.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in particular, reminded of the intention to apply for hosting the Olympic Games in the future - in a peaceful, free and rebuilt Ukraine.
Thomas Bach noted that the IOC is impressed by the intentions of our country to host the Winter Olympic Games. He assured that the door remains open for Ukraine in this matter, and it can conduct consultations with the relevant commissions.
The President of the IOC noted that today's meeting at such a difficult time for Ukraine is evidence that our country remains committed to the values of sports.
Thomas Bach emphasized that he came to Kyiv to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people, in particular with athletes.
"They are not alone with their troubles, we are on their side, we stand side by side with them and support them with our heart, soul, thoughts and deeds. We support them in a way to be able to see a strong, successful, proud Ukrainian national Olympic team at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris and the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Milan and Cortina," he said.
In particular, the IOC has tripled the support fund established since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and now it amounts to USD 7.5 million. According to Thomas Bach, this makes it possible to support more than 3 thousand members of the Olympic movement, Olympic athletes in Ukraine or those who are abroad.