Moscow, Dec 12: President Vladimir Putin has backed the decision made by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to clear national athletes for participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea under the neutral status, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

According to Peskov, Putin stated earlier that there would be no obstacles in the way of Russian athletes if they made a personal decision to travel to South Korea’s PyeongChang for the 2018 Winter Games, reports Tass news agency.

“Now that the Olympic Assembly concluded its session and made its decision, we can speak about his (Putin’s) support,” Peskov said.

On December 5, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced its decision to ban the national team from participating in the 2018 Olympic Games, to run from February 9 to 25. The IOC accused Russia of systematic violations of anti-doping rules, particularly during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

At the same time, the IOC intends to respect the rights of clean athletes, allowing them to participate in the upcoming games as “Olympic Athletes of Russia.”

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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