Putin: Russia will defend in court athletes accused of doping

The Russian President declared his country’s readiness to cooperate with the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.

Vladimir Putin at his annual news conference in Moscow on Thursday.   -  AP

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia would cooperate with the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee over its athletes accused of doping but was ready to defend their interests in courts.

Read: No Russian Olympics boycott after IOC ban, says Putin

"How will we build up relations with WADA and the IOC? I hope constructively, we will calmly work with them, removing those problems we do have," he said at his annual news conference. "But of course working to defend the interests of our athletes, including in civil courts."

"I know that many international officials don't want that, but what can we do? We will be forced to help our athletes to stand up for their honour and dignity in civil courts."