Russian President Putin skips Rio Olympics' opening ceremony

Russian President Vladimir Putin does not plan to attend the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, his spokesman said Thursday.

"The president does not have such a trip on his schedule," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

The Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov is also not expected to attend Friday's ceremony, Peskov said. It remains unclear whether Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko will go or if Putin intends to visit Rio during the course of the August 5-21 Games.

Dozens of Russian athletes have been banned from the Games amid doping allegations. Russia has protested that the bans affect athletes who are apparently clean, such as pole vaulting favourite Yelena Isinbayeva.

Russia had faced a complete ban from the Games, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced last month that the decision to ban athletes would be up to their particular sport's associations.

Russian media speculated at the time that Russia was spared because of Putin's reputed friendship with IOC president Thomas Bach.

Last update: Sun, 21/08/2016 - 12:38
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