A planned audit of RUSADA has been delayed due to travel challenges ©Getty Images

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has delayed a planned audit of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency due to travel challenges, caused by the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

Planned audits of RUSADA form part of the RUSADA reinstatement process, with the National Anti-Doping Agency currently deemed non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.

A two-year package of sanctions was placed on RUSADA after doping data at the Moscow Laboratory was found to be manipulated.

The WADA had initially imposed four-year sanctions, but this was halved by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The sanctions have seen athletes compete under a neutral flag at the Olympic Games and World Championships, while Russia is banned from hosting World Championships until the ban is lifted.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen the nation become a pariah in international sport, with athletes and officials banned from numerous events, while several competitions have been stripped from the nation.

Travel to and from Russia has been heavily impacted by the war, with the European Union banning Russian planes from its airspace, a move reciprocated by Russia to aircrafts from the EU.

A WADA spokeperson confirmed to insidethegames the in-person audit of RUSADA will not take place at the end of this month as planned, due to travel challenges related to Russia.

The WADA last week said RUSADA had confirmed that while there are some challenges with transportation, RUSADA is still able to transport urine and blood samples to WADA-accredited laboratories in Europe in a timely manner.

The RUSADA is required to send samples abroad to be analysed, due to Russia not having a WADA-accredited laboratory after the Moscow Laboratory was shut down after the 2015 doping scandal.

Veronika Loginova, who was appointed RUSADA director general in December, has said the organisation are working to ensure the integrity of their testing programme.

Flights to and from Russia have been limited due to sanctions being introduced ©Getty Images
Flights to and from Russia have been limited due to sanctions being introduced ©Getty Images

"The Agency continues to test athletes and collect doping samples in accordance with the testing program for 2022," Loginova told TASS.

"Thanks to close interaction with contractors, coordinated actions of doping control inspectors and responsible RUSADA specialists, all logistical and value for the implementation of the test plan, are resolved in working order.

"The Agency is taking all necessary measures to maintain the integrity of the athlete testing program and comply with the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code and international standards."

A replacement for Sergei Iljukov on the RUSADA Supervisory Board is also expected to be determined by the WADA.

Iljukov last month resigned from the RUSADA Supervisory Board in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Iljukov had been serving as an independent member of the Board on the recommendation of the WADA.

The WADA confirmed to insidethegames the process to identify Iljukov's replacement has begun and the organisation hopes to complete it as soon as possible.

Iljukov has worked in the anti-doping sphere in both Estonia and Finland previously.

Chair Natalia Dokolova, doctor Evgeny Achkasov, lawyer Evgeny Rashchevsky, Vladimir Chekhonin, vice-president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, plus Alexander Zamazy from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and Kirill Masliev from the European Medical Centre, complete the RUSADA Supervisory Board.