Peter Ogwang has described the sporting ban on Russia as "shameful" ©Parliament of Uganda/Twitter

Ugandan State Minister for Sports Peter Ogwang has described the decision to ban Russia and Belarus from global sport as "shameful, discouraging, and cruel".

When Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, with the help of Belarus, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that International Federations enforce a ban on all the countries' athletes from their sports.

"The UNESCO Charter underlines that sport is a fundamental right for all," Ogwang said at the Peace with Russia: New Formats of International Sports Cooperation panel discussion, as reported by Russian state-run news agency TASS.

"The very phrase 'sport without borders' embodies the essence of what sport should be - it is a world in which the love of the game is above political barriers. In the world, sport represents a rare opportunity for unity, moreover, it represents a platform for diplomacy.

"The suspension of Russian athletes is shameful, discouraging and cruel, sport is a unifying element, it cannot be used to settle political scores, it blocks the potential of young people - they are the ones who participate in such competitions, they speak the language of sport, but they fall victim to the language of politics.

The IOC initially recommended an outright ban on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, which Peter Ogwang says is
The IOC initially recommended an outright ban on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, which Peter Ogwang says is "uncivilised" and "cruel" ©Getty Images

"This is uncivilised and kills the intended purpose of sport, the world needs to keep up with the times, emphasise the importance of sport and protect it.

"Sport doesn't know the geopolitical language, it doesn't know race, it doesn't have the colour of its skin."

Since the IOC's initial stance last year, it has changed its position and recommended that Russians and Belarusians be allowed back into sporting events as neutral athletes.

The body said that only individuals, and not teams, should be able to compete so long as they do not support the war and are not affiliated with the military in any way. 

Despite the easing of restrictions, Russia President Vladimir Putin accused the IOC this week of "ethnic discrimination".

Similarly speaking at the forum, Putin pulled no punches as he also described the decision as "racist".