The United States supports the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Olympics under a neutral banner, but opposed to the display of their flags, the White House said on Thursday. If athletes are invited to an international sporting event like the Olympics, “it must be absolutely clear that they do not represent the Russian or Belarusian states,” said executive spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.

“The use of Russian and Belarusian flags, emblems or anthems should also be prohibited. “The United States supported the suspension of sports bodies of Russia and Belarus from international sports federations,” she recalled. Whether or not athletes from these nations will participate in the 2024 Olympics in Paris is the subject of growing debate.

Ukraine wants Russian athletes to be simply banned from competition because of the invasion of their country by troops from Moscow. A request supported by the Baltic countries and Poland. The Russian Olympic Committee believes for its part that its athletes should be able to participate in the Olympic Games without restriction. The International Olympic Committee recently proposed a roadmap for arranging the return of banned athletes under neutral flag, provided they “did not actively support the war in Ukraine”.