The International Olympic Committee decided Thursday to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee indefinitely for breaching the Olympic charter by incorporating sports bodies in four Ukrainian regions.

The IOC Executive Board, meeting in Mumbai, said the suspension will cut the ROC off from Olympic funding and that the IOC reserves the right to decide on the participation of Russian athletes competing as neutrals in next summer's Paris Olympics and the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo at the appropriate time.

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams speaks during a press conference in Mumbai, India, on Oct. 12, 2023, announcing that the Russian Olympic Committee has been suspended for violating the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee. (Kyodo)

The unilateral decision taken by the ROC on Oct. 5 to include, as its members, regional sports organizations that are under the authority of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, namely those of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia, constitutes a breach of the Olympic charter because it violates the territorial integrity of the NOC of Ukraine, the IOC said in a press release.

"The suspension of the national Olympic committee doesn't affect in any way the participation of independent athletes," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told a press conference after the board meeting.

The ROC, responding to the latest sporting sanction imposed against Russia since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, said the IOC "made another counterproductive decision with obvious political motivations," according to Reuters news agency.

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