Wladimir Klitschko joined the Ukrainian army in 2022 when Russia launched its invasion in February, and is now part of the fight to prevent Vladimir Putin’s supporters from taking part in the Olympics.

Klitschko, who won a gold medal in boxing at the 1996 Olympics, posted a video message Monday to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach asking him to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Games. 2024 due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. .

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Former Ukrainian world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko speaks before receiving the M100 Media Award for the Ukrainian People at a ceremony, part of the M100 Media Conference for Democracy and Press Freedom, in Potsdam, southwest of Berlin, on September 15, 2022.
(BERND VON JUTRCZENKA/PISCINA/AFP via Getty Images)

«You are the representative of the universal values ​​of tolerance and peace,» Klitschko said. “You propose to re-authorize Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Paris games. Today I tell you: the Russians are Olympic champions in crimes against civilians. They have the gold medal in deportation of children and rape of women. Emblem about these crimes because you will be complicit in this abominable war.

«Don’t do this, otherwise you will betray the Olympic spirit. A country that tramples on the basic principle of international law cannot be legitimized and supported by the international sports body. Do not make this monumental mistake. The world is watching you.» History will judge you. Good luck with your decision.»

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International Olympic Committee, IOC President Thomas Bach attends the opening of the Executive Board meeting at the Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland on December 5, 2022.

International Olympic Committee, IOC President Thomas Bach attends the opening of the Executive Board meeting at the Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland on December 5, 2022.
(Denis Balibouse/Keystone via AP, Group)

The IOC laid out its preferred path last week for Russians and Olympians who have not openly supported the war to qualify for Paris and compete in 18 months’ time as neutral athletes without a flag or anthem. Ukraine warned that it would boycott Paris.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy invited Bach to war-torn Bakhmut last week.

On Monday, the IOC said it «rejects in the strongest terms this and other defamatory statements.»

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko leaves after a meeting with German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck in Berlin on March 31, 2022.

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko leaves after a meeting with German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck in Berlin on March 31, 2022.
(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

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The IOC has also pointed to human rights concerns at the United Nations that athletes should not face discrimination based on their passports.

Associated Press contributed to this report.