Kremlin says Winter Olympics doping claims slander by 'defector'

AFP , Friday 13 May 2016
Winter Olympics
Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia's anti-doping laboratory, described a tightly-organised doping operation at the 2014 Winter Olympics involving Russia's FSB security service and the sports ministry (Photo: AFP)

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The Kremlin on Friday dismissed claims that dozens of Russian athletes including at least 15 medallists at the 2014 Winter Olympics were part of an extensive state-run doping programme, saying the allegations were unsubstantiated slander by a "defector".

"These look like absolutely unsubstantiated claims," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists in response to the allegations by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia's anti-doping laboratory.

"It just looks like, you know, let's say, the slander of a defector."

Rodchenkov, fearing for his safety and currently living at a secret location in Los Angeles, made the sensational claims to the New York Times on Thursday.

He described a massive, tightly-organised doping operation involving Russia's FSB security service and the sports ministry.

Peskov backed sports minister Vitaly Mutko, who has condemned the allegations as "a continuation of the information attack on Russian sport".

"I would not rely on such unsubstantiated claims," Peskov said when asked to comment on alleged involvement by the ministry and the FSB.

He denied that Mutko risked being fired over the allegations.

"No, quite the opposite. I urge you to go by Mutko's interview, we generally side with his point of view," Peskov said, referring to Mutko's comments.

Asked if Russian athletes would be able to compete at the Rio Olympics this summer, he said Mutko would need to answer this, but added: "We hope that all will be well."

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