Ukraine crisis: UK to host international sports summit on stricter measures against Russia

One of the coalition's goals is to strip Russia and Belarus of hosting rights for international sporting events. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON (REUTERS) - British sports minister Nigel Huddleston and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries will host a summit with counterparts from Europe, the US, Australia and Canada on Thursday (March 3) to discuss further measures aimed at isolating Russia from world sports events.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said in a statement on Wednesday that the British government plans to create a coalition with the aim of putting pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

The DCMS statement added that the coalition's goals are to strip Russia and Belarus of hosting rights for international sporting events, ban their teams and athletes from competition, and take tough action on sport-related investments with links to Russia.

Belarus has been a key staging area for Russia's invasion.

"The government wants to ensure the Russian state cannot use sport to legitimise its regime in any way and is asking domestic sporting bodies and international partners to leave no stone unturned," the department said.

"Putin's Russia must not be allowed to compete in international sport in any form given his needless and horrific attack on Ukraine."

Russia, with the support of Belarus, began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last week. The war's toll is increasingly dealing a heavy blow to civilians, with Ukrainian authorities estimating more than 2,000 civilians have been killed so far.

World sport governing bodies have started taking action against Russia and Belarus following the International Olympic Committee's recommendation that federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from competing.

The European countries participating in the summit are Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Latvia, Italy, Finland, the Czech Republic and Norway.

Follow The Straits Times' live coverage on the Ukraine crisis here.

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