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"I don't want to assess the IOC's decision made regarding me", Mutko said.

Russian athletes who can incontrovertibly prove that they are untainted by doping will be "invited" to compete at February's Winter Games but won't be allowed to display any national symbols - something President Vladimir Putin has previously said would be an humiliation.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday banned the Russian team from the Games as punishment for doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Zhukov told the French news agency AFP he "apologized" to the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday for the "anti-doping violations" committed in his country in recent years. Nor are Russian athletes banned from accepting government funds - in effect, taxpayers' funds - so they can travel and compete in the Games. It is yet unclear who will bear the expenses related to the participation of Russian athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Putin never went to a Super Bowl, but he's got a championship ring courtesy of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who handed it over during a Kremlin visit in 2005 for what he thought was a brief inspection - and never saw it again.

Mutko's comments came hours after President Vladimir Putin said Russian Federation would not prevent its athletes from competing in South Korea as neutrals.

The door was left open, however, for Russians to compete as an "Olympic Athlete of Russia" as long as they satisfy strict conditions that show they have a doping-free background. It does, however, say that various Russian institutions such as the Ministry of Sports and the ROC failed to fulfil their legal responsibility to make sure Russian athletes were clean.

It is a win for the country that the word "Russia" is retained in the title "Olympic Athlete from Russia" or OAR.

A Russian lawmaker declared that "we won't apologize".

Deputy Prime Minister added that the priority now is to support Russian athletes as to protect the "good name" and to participate in the Olympics. "I have not heard anything about that, but I do know in the talks that we have - whether it's Jerusalem or North Korea - it's about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens in the area?" We have to change our world outlook.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Wednesday it had received appeals from 22 Russian athletes over the bans, and that they asked for the CAS to rule before the Pyeongchang games begin.

For almost a decade now, the Russians have been running a doping operation that would make El Chapo jealous.

Then, on Monday, the United States began military drills with South Korea that were to include simulated strikes on the North's nuclear and missile sites, leading Pyongyang to accuse Washington of pushing the peninsula "to the brink of nuclear war".

"It's an unprecedented level of political sanction in the history of the International Olympic Committee". But, Walden said Rodchenkov remains fearful for his friends and family who are still in Russian Federation. But no blanket ban of a country has been carried out before because of doping, chemicals athletes have injected to give them an edge against competitors.

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