The decision will likely remain in force until at least late 2023
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) voted on Wednesday to suspend the Russian Paralympic Committee's (RPC) membership. Russian athletes have already been barred from this year's games in China, and Russian paralympic chief Pavel Rozhkov was prevented from attending Wednesday's meeting in person.
At a general assembly in Berlin, the committee's members voted 64-39 to suspend the Russian Paralympic Committee, with 16 national committees abstaining, the IPC stated on Twitter. Should Russia unsuccessfully appeal the decision, its suspension can only be lifted at the next IPC general assembly, likely in the fourth quarter of 2023.
The suspension was handed down due to the RPC's "inability to comply with membership obligations under the IPC Constitution," the statement read.
In a separate, 54-45 vote, Belarus' paralympic committee was also suspended from the IPC.
In its response, the RPC argued that the IPC did not provide "a single piece of evidence that the RPC has violated at least one of its membership obligations." The ban is "illegal, groundless...and grossly violates the entire IPC regulations," the RPC continued, adding that NATO members suffered no repercussions in the sporting world when the alliance launched strikes on Yugoslavia and invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.
The IPC banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in the Winter Paralympic Games in March. The ban was enacted after the International Olympic Committee recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred from competing in all international sporting events, in response to Russia's military operation in Ukraine.
RPC President Pavel Rozhkov was set to participate in Wednesday's meeting, before German authorities rejected an IPC request to issue him a visa. The RPC described the visa ban as "political interference in sports, which is contrary to Olympic and Paralympic values."