Ukrainian athletes told to avoid Russians at Olympics in Paris. GETTY IMAGES

The Ukrainian Olympic Committee (UOC) and the Ministry of Sport of Ukraine on Thursday issued a list of recommendations to its Olympic athletes on how to behave in the presence of athletes from Russia and Belarus at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The UOC and the Ministry are asking their Olympic representatives and other members of the Ukrainian delegation to avoid, as far as possible, any direct contact with athletes from Russia and Belarus, which are supporting Russian forces in their invasion of Ukraine. The recommendations also include not taking part in press conferences or interviews with athletes from the two countries, and avoiding being photographed with Russian and Belarusian athletes at medal ceremonies.

In addition, Ukrainian athletes are advised to refrain from interacting with Russian and Belarusian athletes on social media, as a further measure to avoid any contact that could lead to controversy or conflict. Ukrainians are also encouraged to report violations of the principle of neutrality by Russians and Belarusians.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided last December to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games to compete as neutral athletes. The IOC announced in March that Russian and Belarusian athletes, who must compete under a neutral flag at Paris 2024, would not be allowed to parade during the opening ceremony on 26 July in the French capital.

Ukraine blames Russia and Belarus for breaking the Olympic truce at the start of the war and had called for both countries to be banned from the Olympics altogether.

Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, Ukrainian athletes have repeatedly faced Russian and Belarusian opponents in competitions in sports such as tennis. In most cases, Ukrainian athletes have refused to greet their opponents at the end of the match.