The Latest: Russian Foreign Ministry slams doping report
LONDON (AP) The Latest from the IAAF investigation (all times local):
The Russian doping scandal entered the arena of international diplomacy Thursday as the Foreign Ministry slammed the published report as ''biased'' and ''politicized.''
At a weekly briefing in Moscow, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says ''no one asks for or listens to the arguments of the Russian side'' and that sources for information in the report appeared to be ''extremely doubtful.''
She also said that banning the entire Russian track and field team was ''absolutely unacceptable'' and marked ''an attempt to introduce the principle of collective punishment into the area of sport.''
Her comments come a day after President Vladimir Putin said clean athletes should be left free to compete and ordered Russian officials to conduct an independent investigation.
With suspension looming, Olympic hopefuls in Russia remain upbeat about their chances of competing in Rio de Janeiro.
At a training camp near Sochi, the host city of last year's Winter Olympics, some athletes wondered why the focus is firmly on Russia.
Maxim Sidorov, a shot putter who competed at the 2012 Olympics, says even if Russian athletes were guilty of doping, ''other countries do it as well. Why aren't they disqualified?''
Former European 400-meter relay champion Ksenia Aksyonova says ''everywhere there are problems.''
Her coach, Rif Babikov, adds that a ban for Russia would be ''a disaster for athletes'' comparable to the 1980 and 1984 Olympic boycotts when ''nothing good'' came out of it.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko tells The Associated Press the country has no intention of boycotting next year's Olympics, even if the track and field team is banned.
Track's governing body is expected to rule Friday on whether to suspend Russia from competition because of the doping scandal. Mutko says he plans to speak with IAAF President Sebastian Coe ahead of the decision.
Mutko says even if Russia is suspended ''we don't plant to boycott anything anywhere,'' calling Russia ''a dependable partner of the international Olympic movement.''
Mutko also appealed for Russian athletes to be allowed to compete, saying ''it's about protecting the athletes with clean consciences.''
VTB first deputy president Vasily Titov says the end of the partnership deal with governing body of track and field is not related to the Russian doping scandal.
Titov tells the RIA Novosti news agency ''it has run out … We think that all the goals have been achieved regarding this. We have not planned to extend (the contract). No, it's not linked to the doping scandal in any way.''
VTB is majority owned by the Russian government.
In the wake of the doping scandal, the governing body of track and field says Russian bank VTB has decided not to renew its partnership deal.
The IAAF says ''VTB has expressed no interest to extend its present contract, the last event of which was the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. The contract will come to a natural end in 2015.''
VTB became the first Russian company to sign a sponsorship contract with the IAAF in 2006.