Olympic row grows as more countries join call for ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is facing increasing pressure as more countries join the call to ban athletes from Russia and Belarus from competing in the Paris Olympics.

The US, Germany and Australia were among 35 countries joining an online meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to hear his plea for a ban.

While some countries including Australia are still waiting on the sidelines before making an official stance, the pressure is growing.

Zelenskiy claimed 228 Ukrainian athletes and coaches have died as a result of the Russian invasion.

“If there’s an Olympics sport with killings and missile strikes, you know which national team would take the first place,” he said.

“Terror and Olympism are two opposites, they cannot be combined.”

For the moment the IOC is holding its ground on its desire to keep politics out of the Games.

“No, history will show who is doing more for peace,” IOC president Thomas Bach Bach said.

“The ones who try to keep lines open, to communicate, or the ones who want to isolate or divide.

“Our role is bringing people together.”

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has also recently changed her stance and called for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be barred from the Olympics.