President Vladimir Putin will meet with Russians Olympic and Paralympic teams later this month, the Kremlin said
Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with his country's Olympic and Paralympic stars on April 26, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said.
Putin has traditionally celebrated the achievements of Russia's Olympic representatives but has not done so yet following the end of the 2022 Beijing Games, with the meeting seemingly sidetracked by the onset of the Russian military operation within Ukraine.
The Winter Olympics, of which Putin was present at the Opening Ceremony, ended on February 20 – with the military campaign beginning several days afterwards.
The onset of tensions with Ukraine led to Russian and Belarusian athletes being banned from the Beijing Paralympics on the eve of the event on March 4.
Instead, Russian and Belarusian Paralympians took part on a specially-organized event held in Khanty-Mansiysk.
There had been speculation that Putin was to meet with the athletes earlier in April, but according to Peskov, the summit will now take place on April 26.
“Yes, indeed, communication with the winners of the Winter Olympic Games, as well as with members of the Russian Paralympic team, is planned,” Peskov announced when asked by reporters if the rumored date of April 26 might be made official.
Russia's representatives at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, who competed under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), earned an impressive tally of 32 medals in the Chinese capital throughout the event, second only to Norway in the overall medals table.
Cross country skiing superstar Alexander Bolshunov was among the names to impress in Beijing, winning three gold medals.
Following the military action in Ukraine the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a recommendation that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred from international tournaments indefinitely.
This move has been accepted in some quarters but criticized in others by those who object to the move as a gross politicization of sport.
Putin has among those who have been critical of the move, accusing the IOC last month of “trampling” on the very concept of the Olympic spirit with its use of sanctions against Russia and Belarus.