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Lukashenko tells Belarusian athletes to thump their opponents at Olympics

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Tuesday told his country’s athletes participating at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris to “beat the crap out of” their opponents. 

Belarusian athletes will compete at the games under a neutral flag because of their country’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and will be barred from the opening ceremony. 

“If you make your choice and travel there under a neutral status, then beat the crap out of them, show them you are real Belarusian,” Lukashenko said, according to a statement from his office. 

Lukashenko had been asked what he thought of the neutral status during a visit to the east of the country, according to the statement. 

“It’s up to the athlete to decide,” he said. “You are Belarusian and when you emerge victorious, it’s a good way for us to whack them politically.”  

Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has eliminated all forms of opposition in his country, and in February 2022 allowed Russian military forces to invade Ukraine from Belarusian territory.   

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