Ihor Hotsul has defended Ukrainian measures taken to combat doping problems ©LinkedIn

Ukrainian Athletics Federation (FLAU) President Ihor Hotsul has strongly defended action taken by the organisation to improve its anti-doping procedures.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) appeared to single-out Ukraine for concern following their Council meeting in Monte Carlo this month.

Ukraine was one of five countries put on a special monitoring list by the world governing body last year, along with Belarus, Ethiopia, Morocco and Kenya.

It comes after the European nation abstained rather than back a series of modernising reforms introduced at a Special Congress last year by IAAF President Sebastian Coe. 

Only 15 of the 197 IAAF members did not vote in support of the measures.

National Olympic Committee of Ukraine President Sergey Bubka is also the senior vice-president of the IAAF as well as an Executive Board member of the International Olympic Committee. 

It was ruled last week that Ukrainian representatives must now provide the IAAF with monthly updates on their progress in addressing problems in the build-up to August's World Championships in London.

Belarus, Ethiopia and Kenya are all required to report again in three months time.

No specific timeline has been published for Morocco.

"I want to emphasise that Ukraine's position with respect to the fight with doping remains the same and it is based on zero tolerance policy regarding all forms of doping," Hotsul told insidethegames today.

"It is a basic principle in the activities of both the state and all public institutions that develop sports, including FLAU.

"As one of its priorities FLAU considers close cooperation with the IAAF Anti-Doping Department during investigations on athletes suspected in doping use and during the whole process of disqualification. 

An update was given on progress in Ukraine at last week's IAAF Council meeting ©Twitter/Olivier Gers
An update was given on progress in Ukraine at last week's IAAF Council meeting ©Twitter/Olivier Gers

"I want to emphasise that for the entire period of cooperation there was no violation or deviation from established procedures, no cases of evasion from making appropriate decisions or hiding information. 

"FLAU management takes tough position towards IAAF anti-doping rules violators."

Dozens of Ukrainian athletes have been implicated in failed drugs tests in recent years.

Prominent cases have included shot putter Yuriy Bilinog, who was stripped of his Athens 2004 Olympic gold after retests showed traces of anabolic steroid oxandrolone, and two-time world champion sprinter Zhanna Block, who was implicated in a scandal surrounding laboratory founder, Victor Conte.

Heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska was stripped of her Beijing 2008 silver medal after failing for methyltestosterone, another anabolic steroid.

London 2012 javelin silver medal winner Oleksandr Pyatnytsya was also retrospectively disqualified after testing positive for oral turinabol.

Recent problems, however, have related more to the standard of testing carried out.

This has been blamed on political instability in the country, although Hotsul is confident that this will change following a pledge of support from the Government.

"Ukraine faces a complicated economic situation caused, in particular, by hostilities in the east of the country," he added.

"Federations as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), developing mostly through sports marketing, have lost their partners and sponsors. 

"The budget of the Ukrainian Athletic Federation was also not enough to reimburse the costs of sample analysis. 

"Therefore, it was important for us to find a way to finance the analyses of doping tests.

"We succeeded in a relatively short time to unite efforts and to prepare draft amendments to the Law of Ukraine on anti-doping control in sport, that would allow the state to pay for sample analyses in foreign laboratories with international accreditation."

Oleksandr Pyatnytsya was stripped of his London 2012 javelin silver medal following re-testing of his samples by the IOC ©Getty Images
Oleksandr Pyatnytsya was stripped of his London 2012 javelin silver medal following re-testing of his samples by the IOC ©Getty Images

The law was officially passed through Ukrainian Parliament on Tuesday (February 7), he added.

Around 10 urine and 70 blood samples taken from the 2016 National Championships in Lutsk have already been analysed this way by a testing group from Global Sports GmbH, Hotsul said, thanking the IAAF and its President Sebastian Coe for their support.

"These examples clearly show the positive dynamics of measures taken in order to fight doping," the official added.

"We are very grateful to the IAAF for understanding our situation and for the support regarding testing and promoting the new edition of the anti-doping law.

"We would like to emphasise once again that our Federation takes a tough and uncompromising approach to the fight against doping and it makes every possible effort for its successful implementation."

Ukraine's National Anti-Doping Agency were briefly declared non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) before meeting a series of conditions in March last year.