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Russian Deputy PM: Meldonium Accusations Against Russian Athletes May Be 'Provocations'

Russia's deputy prime minister has suggested there were "political overtones" behind the global anti-doping agency's decision to ban the use of the drug meldonium in sports.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich was also quoted by the Russian news agency R-Sport on March 12 as saying that Russian investigators will look into whether positive tests among its athletes could have been "provocations.”

His comments come as an increasing number of Russian athletes have tested positive for the drug, which was banned by sport regulators on January 1.

That list includes tennis star Maria Sharapova, figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova, and others.

He said law enforcers were investigating how meldonium had got into the bodies of Russian skaters.

Meantime, world rugby's governing body announced on March 12 that a husband-and-wife pair who play for Russia's national men's and women's rugby team have also failed meldonium drug tests.

The World Anti-Doping Agency told the Associated Press on March 11 that there had been 99 positive tests for meldonium worldwide this year.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters