Putin calls for improving Russia's doping laws

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 9:50 p.m. ET

MOSCOW (AP) Russian President Vladimir Putin wants government officials to step up the country's efforts against doping in sports.

Putin's comments in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday come as Russia reels from revelations that athletes including Maria Sharapova tested positive for the substance meldonium, which increases blood flow and was banned for sportspeople from Jan. 1.

The spate of positives follow the decision in November to suspend Russia's track and field athletes from international competition after a World Anti-Doping Agency panel detailed systematic corruption and doping cover-ups in the country.

''It's obvious that our national anti-doping legislation needs serious improvement,'' Putin said, according to the Tass agency. ''I am asking the government to work on the question of raising the effectiveness of the national fight against doping.''