The head of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has suggested that Russia could be barred from this summer's Olympics in Brazil if allegations of widespread doping are confirmed.
Thomas Bach's comments, published on May 18 in the newspaper USA Today, came amid deepening concern about an alleged state-run system to help some Russian sportsmen and women use performance-enhancing drugs and avoid detection.
International anti-doping agencies are investigating a growing number of reports about widespread Russian doping.
"Should the investigation prove the allegations true it would represent a shocking new dimension in doping with an, until now, unprecedented level of criminality," Bach wrote in his op-ed.
"There can be no doubt -- and no clean athlete in the world should have any doubt -- that the IOC would react with its record of proven zero-tolerance policy not only with regard to individual athletes, but to all their entourage within its reach, he said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, downplayed reports that the U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into doping allegations, saying Moscow doesn't recognize U.S. jurisdiction over criminal matters.
With reporting by USA Today