International Olympic Committee

Two private security personnel guard the entrance of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in front of the Olympic Rings prior to the opening of the first day of the executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the IOC headquarters, in Pully near Lausanne, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. (Laurent Gillieron/pool photo via AP)

Laurent Gillieron

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee has barred Russia from competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games because of doping violations, but the group will allow athletes from the country to compete as neutrals.

The IOC says some competitors will be invited to participate as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)" without their national flag or anthem.

Russia could refuse the offer and boycott the games.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating for Russia to compete without national symbols.

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The IOC also imposed a fine of $15 million on the Russian Olympic committee.

Evidence suggests that Russia ran an orchestrated doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games.

The International Olympic Committee did not bar Russia from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The IOC instead asked sports governing bodies to decide which athletes could compete.

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