Russia PM: State will never admit "false" doping charges

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Russia PM: State will never admit

"Without any doubt, we will not declare a blockade, we will not prevent our Olympians from taking part (in the Games), if one of them wants to participate in a personal capacity", Putin said on state television.

Russian authorities will not be impeding the participation of Russian athletes in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea's PyeongChang under the so-called "neutral athletes" status, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Vladimir Putin hit out at the "politically motivated" ban on Russian Federation from next year's Winter Olympics but vowed not to stand in the way of athletes who wish to compete.

Asked if it's a "done deal" that U.S. athletes will be able to attend the Olympics, Haley said: "There's an open question".

"Most of the accusations are based on facts that have not been proven and are largely unfounded", Putin said.

The participation of USA athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea's Pyeongchang is still an "open question" against the backdrop of the North Korea-related tensions in the region, Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said.

"I think that this excuse was not used in an honest way, to put it mildly", Putin said without elaborating.

"Why are our Olympians being banned from competing under the Russian flag and national symbols, if there is no state support for doping?".

The U.S. Olympic Committee consistently has maintained that it is continuing preparations to compete in South Korea, USA Today reported, adding that as part of the USOC's advance work it has been in contact with the state department and law enforcement officials and met in August with the four-star general in charge of U.S forces in South Korea. Those athletes, who would compete in neutral uniforms, would not see their country's flag or hear it's national anthem at the Games. But Mutko said that the interests of Russia's athletes were his top concern.

Russian authorities have vehemently denied any state support for doping and pledged to cooperate with worldwide sports authorities to counter the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Russian athletes will be allowed to compete as long as they have never committed an "anti-doping rule violation" and undergo "pre-Games targeted tests" among other conditions, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.

Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, who was suspended by the IOC, apologized at Tuesday's hearing "for violations of anti-doping rules that were allowed in our country".

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