Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told IOC President Thomas Bach he was upset at the potential return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to the international sporting arena ©Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has held talks with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and says he is "upset" at the prospect of a return to international competitions for Russian and Belarusian athletes.

In tweets following the meeting, Zelenskyy repeated calls for athletes from the two countries to remain banned from the international sporting arena while the war on Ukraine continues.

Zelenskyy tweeted that he was "upset with the intention to return Russian and Belarusian athletes to world competitions" and added that "as long as Russia destroys peaceful life - only isolation."

Zelenskyy tweeted that he noted the support for Ukrainian athletes and urged the IOC to contribute to rebuilding Ukrainian sporting objects destroyed by Russia.

"Since February, 184 Ukrainian athletes have died as a result of Russia's actions, and Russia itself uses sports for propaganda purposes," Zelenskyy added.

"A fair response for a terrorist state can only be complete isolation in the international arena.

"In particular, this applies to international sports events."

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has held talks with IOC President Thomas Bach ©Getty Images
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has held talks with IOC President Thomas Bach ©Getty Images

According to an IOC summary of the conversation, Bach "explained the unifying mission of the IOC and the Olympic Games enshrined in the Olympic Charter".

The IOC also claims its stance that no international sporting events should be held in Russia and Belarus and that the countries' flag, anthem and colours be banned from all sporting events and meetings was welcomed by Ukraine's leader.

Speaking following an IOC Executive Board meeting earlier this month, Bach said the organisation needed to explore ways to overcome the "dilemma" of the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Bach also said the sanctions banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions would remain "firmly in place."

Earlier this month the Olympic Summit, involving leading representatives from the Olympic Movement, agreed to follow-up a proposal by the Olympic Council of Asia to enable Russian and Belarusian athletes, who were in full respect of the Olympic Charter and the sanctions, to participate in its competitions.

Following the Olympic Summit Ukraine National Olympic Committee President Vadym Guttsait underlined his opposition to athletes from the two nations participating in sport, saying the country "did not want to see any athletes from Russia and Belarus while the war in Ukraine continues."