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IOC Accuses Russia Of Disinformation Campaign Targeted At Members

The IOC on Tuesday barred Russian athletes from taking part in the opening ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympics on July 26 and criticised the Kremlin for planning to hold its own "Friendship Games" to rival those held in the French capital.


IOC Accuses Russia Of Disinformation Campaign Targeted At Members
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach (C) opens an Executive Board meeting at IOC headquarters in Lausanne on March 19, 2024. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said it and its president Thomas Bach have been the victim of a new Russian disinformation campaign featuring prank calls.

“There appears to have been a new incident in the Russian disinformation and defamation campaign against the International Olympic Committee and its president,” the IOC said in a statement late Thursday.

“Fake calls purporting to be from the African Union Commission appear to have been made by the very same group that has already attacked a number of global political leaders and other high-ranking personalities in the same way.”

The IOC added: “During the calls, a person pretending to be the chair of the African Union Commission wanted to have arguments in particular from the IOC against the politicisation of sport by the Russian government, in order to prepare a statement against such politicisation.

“The IOC already revealed this disinformation and defamation campaign for the first time in November 2023.”

Relations between Moscow and the IOC reached what the latter called a “new low” this week.

The IOC on Tuesday barred Russian athletes from taking part in the opening ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympics on July 26 and criticised the Kremlin for planning to hold its own “Friendship Games” to rival those held in the French capital.

Those decisions invoked the ire of the Kremlin, with Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying that they “demonstrate how far the IOC has moved away from its stated principles and slipped into racism and neo-Nazism”.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams responded by saying: “We’ve seen some very aggressive statements coming out of Russia today, but there’s one comment even which is going beyond that, we’ve even seen one that links the president (Bach), his (German) nationality and the Holocaust, and this is completely unacceptable and reaches a new low.”