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World Paralympic Body Suspends Russia, Belarus

The Russian Paralympic Team at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) voted late Wednesday to suspend the Russian and Belarusian national committees effective immediately as the war in Ukraine approaches the nine-month mark.

The decision raises doubts over Russian and Belarusian Paralympic athletes’ participation at the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

The IPC cited the Russian and Belarusian Paralympic committees’ “inability to comply with their membership obligations,” which includes upholding ethical principles, ensuring the protection of athletes’ safety and avoiding acts that disgrace the IPC.

It said both committees were given the right to address the world body before the vote, which stood at 64-39 in favor of suspending Russia and 54-45 for Belarus.

Sixteen members abstained in the vote on Russia's suspension, while 18 abstained in the vote on Belarus.

The IPC banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics days after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, using Belarus as a staging area.

The Russian and Belarusian Paralympic committees can appeal their suspension, the IPC said.

If rejected, IPC’s general assembly can lift the suspension at its next likely meeting in late 2023.

The Russian Paralympic Committee called its suspension “illegal” and groundless.

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