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Russia ban would be great loss to Winter Games – Kremlin

Moscow, Russia: The Kremlin on Tuesday said it would be a "great loss" for the Olympic movement if the Russian team were to be banned from the 2018 Winter Games over doping.

The statement came after the New York Times quoted a source in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saying Russia would be allowed to participate in the Pyeongchang Games with certain limitations.

"We obviously don't want to talk about the worst case scenario, which is to say Russia's non-participation in the Olympics, because that would be a great loss to the whole Olympic movement," President Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists.  

"Russia is a responsible member of the Olympic movement. You know the responsibility with which Russia held the Olympic Games in Sochi, how highly the IOC appreciated these Games," Peskov added.

"At the behest of Russia's president our sports officials are carrying on a dialogue with the IOC and its representatives. We hope that cooperation with the IOC will continue and these issues will be resolved". 

Last month Putin said the United States had put indirect pressure on the IOC to block Russia from the Winter Games, adding it would be a "humiliation" for the country.

The IOC is currently assessing whether Russian athletes will be allowed to appear at the event in South Korea in February.

An explosive 2016 report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency alleged state-sponsored doping in Russia from 2011 to 2015.

The investigation said the cheating peaked at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi where Russian secret agents engineered an elaborate system of doping.

Russia denies any state-sponsored system of doping.

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