Wladimir Klitschko has called for the IOC to not allow Russia and Belarus at Paris 2024 ©Twitter

Professional boxing great Wladimir Klitschko has claimed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be complicit in the war in Ukraine if it allows athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete at next year's Olympic Games in Paris. 

The IOC has floated the idea of reinstating the countries, whose athletes and officials were banned by most International Federations - on the recommendation of the IOC - for their participation in the attack.

It has admitted that it is looking to explore pathways for athletes to return to competition, including neutrally at Paris 2024 and Milan Cortina 2026, claiming athletes should not be judged on their passport.

The 1996 Olympic super-heavyweight champion released a video on Twitter, expressing his opposition to the nations' return, particularly while the invasion continued, addressing IOC President Thomas Bach.

"You are the representative of the universal values of tolerance and peace," said the two-time world heavyweight in a video addressed to Bach and set against background of shelled-out buildings in Ukraine's capital Kyiv. 

"You propose to reauthorise Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Paris Games.

"I tell you; today, the Russians are Olympic champions in crimes against civilians.

"They have the gold medal in deportation of children and rape of women.

"You cannot put your Olympic emblem on these crimes because you will be an accomplice of this abominable war.

"Do not do this, otherwise you will betray the Olympic spirit.

"A country that tramples on the basic principles of international law cannot be legitimised and supported by the international body of sport.

"The world is watching you, history will judge you."

Wladimir Klitschko has been serving in the Ukrainian army since Russia invaded the country last February ©Getty Images
Wladimir Klitschko has been serving in the Ukrainian army since Russia invaded the country last February ©Getty Images

On February 24 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine with the assistance of Belarus, leading to the IOC's indefinite suspension.

International Federations are not bound to abide by this ruling, with some choosing to allow athletes to compete neutrally, such as the International Tennis Federation, International Cycling Unon and the International Judo Federation.

Klitschko and his older brother, and fellow former professional boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, the Mayor of Kyiv, have been serving in the Ukrainian military since the invasion began. 

Wladimir's video is the latest part of an increasingly bitter campaign by leading figures in Ukraine to try to get the IOC to reverse their plan to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete at Paris 2024.

Last week, the country's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited Bach to to the war-torn city of Bakhmut to "see with his own eyes that neutrality does not exist".

Yesterday, Zelenskyy's adviser Mykhaïlo Podoliak launched a blistering attack on the morals of Bach. 

"The IOC is a promoter of war, murder and destruction," he wrote on Twitter.

"The IOC watches with pleasure as Russia destroys Ukraine and then offers Russia a platform to promote the genocide and encourages further killings."

The IOC said they rejected "this and other defamatory statements," and claimed, "they cannot serve as a basis for any constructive discussion."