Dzinara Alimbekava is among athletes now barred from IBU competition ©Getty Images

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has banned Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from all of its events over the invasion of Ukraine. 

The decision, made by the IBU Executive Board, follows an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation that Russian and Belarusian competitors be barred from all international sport.

As well as issue the ban, the IBU also expressed sorrow at the death of 19-year-old ex-biathlete Yevhen Malyshev who was killed serving in Ukraine's armed forces.

The Russian Biathlon Union has been relegated to provisional membership since 2017, but the Executive Board is to discuss whether to suspend it and its Belarusian counterpart at the next regularly-scheduled meeting on March 17. 

Hundreds have been killed since the invasion began last Thursday (February 24), with Ukraine's Government putting the civilian death toll at at least 352.

Fighting is particularly fierce in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the bombing of Kharkiv a war crime.

The IBU joins more than 15 other Olympic International Federations in having banned competitors from Belarus and Russian outright.

Prominent among those no longer able to compete at World Cup events is Dzinara Alimbekava, the 26-year-old from Belarus who is second in the overall women's standings.

Compatriot Hann Sola is also in the top 10, while Russia's Alexandr Loginov and Anton Smolski from Belarus occupy top-10 positions in the men's standings.