Russian athletes will not be allowed to compete at the 2022 Winter Paralympics

Athletes from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to compete at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing.

The International Paralympic Committee was heavily criticised after initially allowing the athletes to compete as neutrals.

A statement today said the “situation in the athlete villages” had become “untenable”.

International Paralympic President, Andrew Parsons described the athletes affected as victims of their governments’ actions.

The Winter Paralympics will begin on Saturday, with the opening ceremony taking place tomorrow.

Parsons said: “We are very firm believers that sport and politics should not mix.

“However, by no fault of its own the war has now come to these Games and behind the scenes many governments are having an influence on our cherished event.

“Ensuring the safety and security of athletes is of paramount importance to us and the situation in the athlete villages is escalating and has now become untenable.”

71 competitors from Russia and 12 from Belarus plus guides for both nations were to have competed in the Paralympics.