Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo changed her stance on Russian competitors at the 2024 Olympics on Tuesday saying they should be banned “while the war continues” in Ukraine, her office said.

Last month Hidalgo said she believed Russians could take part “under a neutral flag” to avoid “depriving athletes of competition”.

On Tuesday she told French media that her earlier position was “indecent” because a neutral flag, “does not really exist” although she said there should be a place for “dissident Russians who want to parade under the refugee flag”.

Her office said this was a “clarification” of her position.

They would, she said, be athletes who do not “support Vladimir Putin in his aggression”. 

The Refugee Olympic Team competed for the first time in the Rio Games in 2016, where it was made up of 10 athletes originally from Syria, Ethiopia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, Russians and Belarusians have been banned from most world sporting events. 

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