Russia, Belarus should be barred from hosting international sports events - U.S. allies

A cardboard cutout caricature of Russian President Vladimir Putin depicted as Adolf Hitler is seen during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine outside the Russian Embassy in Kappara, Malta, March 8, 2022. REUTERS

Russia and Belarus should not be permitted to host, bid for or be awarded any international sporting events after the invasion of Ukraine, the United States and allies said in a statement released by the U.S. State Department.

The statement calls on international sporting federations to limit sponsorship opportunities for companies tied to Russian and Belarusian governments.

The statement was signed by officials from 37 countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Belgium and the United States. China, India and countries in Latin America and Africa were not listed as participating in the statement.

The statement urged the international sporting community to show "solidarity with the people of Ukraine".

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February drew wide international condemnation. Belarus has been a key staging area for Russian forces.

Moscow calls its activity a "special operation" that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbor's military capabilities.

World and European soccer governing bodies FIFA and UEFA have barred the Russian national team and clubs from international competitions until further notice.

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