‘Stop sending weapons to Kyiv!’ — Russia rejects Macron’s call for Olympics ceasefire

French President Emmanuel Macron listens to the media in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Russia has dismissed calls by French President Emmanuel Macron to observe a ceasefire during the Summer Olympics to be hosted by Paris in July.

In an interview with Ukrainian television, Macron revealed he would be requesting that the Kremlin call a truce for the two weeks of games, which begins on July 26.

“Yes, we will ask for it. The rule of the host country is to move in step with the Olympic movement. This is a message of peace,” the French president was cited as saying.

On Sunday, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova appeared to reject the request, telling Macron he should first stop sending weapons and ammunition to Kyiv and helping to prolong the conflict that entered its third year last month.

“I come forward with a proposal in response to Macron’s: Stop supplying weapons being used to kill and also stop sponsoring terrorism,” Zakharova said, as cited by the Moscow-based Tass news agency.

The Kremlin also noted that the French president had not called for the same action in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza in the Middle East.

“I also suggest that Macron come up with a similar proposal to the parties in the Middle East conflict. A lot probably depends on what France says there,” Zakharova added.

The conflict in Ukraine, which largely stalled over the winter has been reignited by another military aid package for Kyiv sanctioned by the European Union and further bilateral agreements, with European allies sending ammunition and weapons including the Czech Republic.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reelection on Sunday, widely discredited across the West, is the latest evidence of the conflict showing no sign of concluding.

Russian athletes competing in certain disciplines have been permitted to participate in this year’s Olympic Games as neutrals, much to the dismay of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee, which called for an outright ban on all Russian nationals.

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Russian and Belarusian nationals are prohibited from competing in athletic competitions by the respective governing body, although individual competitors can participate in other sports such as swimming provided they have no direct links to advocates of the war.

As Russian athletes cannot compete under the Russian flag, there will be no Russian representation in any team sports at the tournament.

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