Ukrainian Sports Minister Vadym Gutzeit shared a video showing the impact of the war with Russia on Ukrainian sporting infrastructure ©Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine

Ukrainian Sports Minister and National Olympic Committee (NOC) President Vadym Gutzeit has vowed to fight to ensure "athletes from different countries will meet in peaceful and fair matches" at Paris 2024 in a message delivered on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion.

Tomorrow marks one year since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a major escalation of a war between the two countries that began in 2014.

It led to an IOC condemnation of the Russian Government's breach of the Olympic Truce, and has largely led to Russia and its ally Belarus being frozen out of international sport.

The IOC has vowed in recent months to "explore a pathway" for Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to competitions, potentially enabling them to compete under "strict conditions" of neutrality at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The proposals have sparked a furious reaction in Ukraine, with officials in the war-torn country and the IOC exchanging criticism.

A coalition of 30 countries included Paris 2024 hosts France have signed a joint statement urging the IOC to clarify the definition of "neutrality" for Russian and Belarusian athletes, and insisted they would not agree with their participation if their concerns were not addressed, including links between Russian athletes and the military.

Gutzeit published a video on Facebook, showing Ukrainian athletes training in gymnastics on February 23 last year and contrasting it with the damage caused to sporting and civilian infrastructure since the Russian invasion.

Athletes had spoken of their sporting dreams including participating at the Olympic Games in the first part of the video, and went on to deliver statements including "Ukrainians have only one dream - to end the war" and "I dream that rockers would never come to he houses of peaceful people".

"While someone dreams of a white flag at the Olympics, our country dreams of a peaceful sky above its head," a message in the video read.

This is a reference to the potential inclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral banner at Paris 2024, even if bans on national symbols remain in place.

Gutzeit claimed that 244 "members of our sports family" had died because of the war in the last year, with more than 300 training bases destroyed.

He wrote that the Ukrainian people dream of "victory" and a "peaceful life", while "the representatives of the aggressor countries dream of the Olympics".

Vadym Gutzeit said more than 300 training bases had been destroyed in the last year ©Getty Images
Vadym Gutzeit said more than 300 training bases had been destroyed in the last year ©Getty Images

"But we fight - for our dreams," said Gutzeit, who replaced IOC member Sergey Bubka as NOC of Ukraine President in November.

"For the dreams of our athletes, all Ukrainians, the whole world.

"So that at international competitions and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, athletes from different countries will meet in peaceful and fair matches.

"So that there were no 'neutral' flags and war propagandists.

"We believe in ourselves.

"We believe in our Armed Forces of Ukraine.

"And because of the countries united in their desire to prevent Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in international competitions."

Guttsait has recently described Russian Olympic Committee President and former Unified Team gold medal-winning fencing team-mate Stanislav Pozdnyakov as his "enemy".