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23 Dec, 2021 16:50

Putin condemns Beijing boycotts (VIDEO)

Putin condemns Beijing boycotts (VIDEO)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual media conference on Thursday that the diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Winter Olympics by the United States and United Kingdom only serves to drive nations further apart.

The recent announcement by the US that it is pushing forward with the diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics, which begins in February, quickly ignited a furious flashpoint between several nations and hosts China.

The UK, Canada and Australia were among the countries to quickly follow suit in what began to quickly develop into a high-stakes staring contest between nations on various ends of the political spectrum.

The US State Department affirmed last April that they weren't engaging with their allies in a co-ordinated boycott – but the Biden administration's decision to withdraw diplomats from the event was the first of several dominoes which would eventually fall. 

Speaking at Thursday's media conference in Moscow, Putin said that the move by various government to refuse to engage with the hosts of next year's Winter Olympics is an entirely counterproductive method of addressing any disagreements they may have with China.

"Sports – like art – have to unite people, not drive them apart, drive nations and governments apart," said Putin. "And when sport has this fundamental part of it taken away this damages the entire community.

"There are many ways to support relationships and partnerships between countries but, with these policies, politicians guided by short-term interests demolish these ways to improve relations."

Putin added that the boycotting nations are making a 'mistake' by attempting to put a freeze on relations with Beijing – particularly by doing so under the veil of athletic achievement.

Sport, Putin says, is about togetherness and unity and shouldn't be an arena with which to further international disputes.

"There's nothing we can do," he said. "People make mistakes. You don't always repeat your mistakes but this is one of the cases when mistakes are repeated, in fact - and there is only one reason for that.

"All the sanctions against Russia, all of that comes to one thing. It's not about the last name of the head of state, it's not about some current issues or problems. It's just about one thing: this is an attempt to contain the development of your potential adversaries."