South Korean President Moon jae-in has hailed the participation of Russian athletes at the Winter Olympic Games despite criticism of the decision to allow them to compete amid the country's doping scandal.
Moon claimed the presence of the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) team at Pyeongchang 2018 had "made the Games better" following a meeting with a delegation from the country at the Presidential Blue House on Tuesday (February 20).
The meeting was attended by former Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin, OAR team head Stanislav Pozdnyakov and Russian Ice Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretiak.
It took place on the same day as the confirmation that A and B samples provided by OAR curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii had tested positive for meldonium.
Krushelnitckii will be stripped of the bronze medal he won in the mixed doubles curling event with wife Anastasia Bryzgalova.
The development has cast doubt over Russia's potential reinstatement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) before Sunday's (February 25) Closing Ceremony.
Russia remain optimistic, however, that they will be allowed to march under their own flag following a meeting between Levitin and IOC President Thomas Bach.
"I thank you immensely for sending a large group of athletes to the Pyeongchang Olympics despite many difficult issues inside Russia," Moon told the Russian officials during the meeting in Seoul.
"The participation of Russia, previous Winter Olympics host and strong winter sports country, has not only made our Olympics better but has also contributed to South Korea's efforts to create a venue of peace and harmony at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics."
The IOC forced Russian athletes to compete as neutrals on an OAR team as punishment for the "systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system at Sochi 2014.
Their participation has been criticised by athletes and anti-doping bodies, many of whom claimed there should not have been any Russian competitors taking part at Pyeongchang 2018.