RUSADA has said athletics doping rates within Russia have decreased ©Getty Images

Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) director general Veronika Loginova has claimed domestic doping in Russian athletics has dropped, as the country looks to be reinstated into competition this year.

Loginova has pointed to the independent audit into anti-doping changes in the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF), which shows a decline.

"We have about 20 per cent of the total number of samples taken from athletics," said Loginova to Russian state news agency TASS.

"When preparations were underway for the audit of the RusAF, the question arose about the number of anti-doping rule violations in domestic athletics in recent years, is declining, which rejoices us.

"And I can say with all responsibility that testing is flawless. 

"This applies to both planning and the process of doping sampling. 

"We have very strict rules, everything happens in accordance with the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency."

RUSADA is still working on becoming compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (WADA), which would further free the country from any restrictions in sports competition.

Anzhelika Sidorova is one of the Russian athletes who counted as a neutral ©Getty Images
Anzhelika Sidorova is one of the Russian athletes who counted as a neutral ©Getty Images

RusAF is also aiming for reinstatement at World Athletics too, having been suspended in November 2015 due to the state-sponsored doping found in the nation.

Since then, select athletes training overseas and with clean testing records - such as world pole vault champion Anzhelika Sidorova and long jumper Darya Klishina - have been able to compete neutrally as Authorised Neutral Athletes.

World Athletics Russia Taskforce chair Rune Andersen told the World Athletics Council that there was "a new culture of good governance and zero tolerance for doping throughout" the RusAF, with a final recommendation expected to be made in March 2023.

Complications would still come over the war in Ukraine, which could see RusAF return as a World Athletics member.