Pavel Kulizhnikov has been ruled out of the European Speed Skating Championships ©Getty Images

Five-time champion Pavel Kulizhnikov is among the four Russian skaters to have been ruled out of this week's European Speed Skating Championships in The Netherlands because of positive COVID-19 cases in the team's camp.

The Russian Skating Union (RSU) said Russia's participation at the Championships was "in jeopardy" following the infections within the squad prior to the start of the event in Heerenveen tomorrow.

Ruslan Murashov, Viktor Mushtakov and Artem Arefyev have also been withdrawn from the competition, scheduled to run until Sunday (January 9).

RSU executive director Varvara Barysheva told the country's official state news agency TASS that its athletes would miss the first day of the event.

Barysheva, who had earlier confirmed the team was in quarantine, said they would all be tested for COVID-19 tomorrow and would not be able to take part in their opening events.

The Russian squad could miss the entire Championships, the last major speed skating event before the 2022 Winter Olympic Games open in Beijing on February 4.

After last season’s combined European Sprint and Allround Championships, the event will be held in single distance format this year.

The Dutch swept the combined 2021 Championships by winning all four titles on offer.

A total of 14 European crowns will be up for grabs at this year's event in the Dutch city.