Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko, speaking to The Associated Press on Thursday in a telephone interview, said there will “not in any case … never” be a boycott.
The governing body of track and field is expected to rule Friday on whether to suspend Russia from competition because of the country’s doping scandal. That could be the first step in excluding Russia’s track and field team from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“Russia is against a boycott. Russia is against political interference in sport,” Mutko said. “Understand that Russia is a dependable partner of the international Olympic movement.”
Three days after a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency accused Russia of state-sponsored doping, Mutko also appealed for Russia’s track team to be allowed to compete, arguing that a blanket ban would unfairly punish clean athletes.