Doping row because US 'can't beat us fairly': Russia FM

Members of the short track speed skaters of the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) during a training session prior to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, on Feb 5, 2018.
Members of the short track speed skaters of the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) during a training session prior to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, on Feb 5, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday (Feb 11) that accusations of a state-sponsored doping conspiracy which led to his country's Olympic banishment were orchestrated by the United States because they "can't beat us fairly".

"I think it's a form of competition without scruples because the US team, obviously, are not capable of beating us fairly at sport," Lavrov said in an interview broadcast by Rossiya-1 TV and published on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Russia has been banned from taking part in the ongoing Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowed a large group of Russians deemed clean to take part as "Olympic Athletes from Russia".

Lavrov, meanwhile, accused the United States of engineering the ban as a means for them "to find and keep their place as indisputable world leader in sport".

"All rivals must be pushed to one side," he added. "All means are good (in a) campaign which is anti-Russian."