Following allegations over claims that the country’s athletes have been part of a systematic doping programme, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigation into the matter.
Putin was speaking for the first time after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report recommended Russia be banned from athletics competition.
Putin said: “Russia must do everything possible to protect its athletes from banned substances, as the competition should be fair and promote sportsmanship.”
He also said athletes should be punished individually, rather than collectively.
“Sportsmen who don’t dope and never have must not answer for those who break the rules.
“If we find that someone must be held responsible for something of the sort that breaks the rules in place against doping, then the responsibility must be personalised, that’s the rule.
“The battle must be open, a sporting contest is only interesting when it is honest,” Putin added.
The Russian president further advocated for a professional co-operation between his country and the anti-doping bodies.