Putin says Russia joins China in opposition to boycotts ahead of Olympics

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia - like China - opposes the diplomatic boycotts on the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics that have been declared by the United States and several other nations, saying his country supports the Olympic values of "equality and fairness."

"I consider the main goal of these competitions to attract as many citizens as possible to sport and the strengthening of friendship between peoples. These approaches are shared by the organizers of the upcoming Games, our Chinese friends," Putin said while addressing Russia's Olympic athletes ahead of the Games, The Associated Press reported.

"Together we stand against the politicization of sport and demonstrative boycotts. We support the traditional Olympic values, above all, equality and fairness," he added, according to the news outlet.

The Russian president is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and also attend the Games, which begin next week.

Those moves, however, are a far cry from several countries, including the United States, that have announced diplomatic boycotts against the Games over human rights concerns in the country. The diplomatic boycott allows those countries' athletes to compete, but representatives from those countries will not be in attendance.

The announcement also comes amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine as Russia has amassed tens of thousands of the troops along the border between the two countries. The U.S. and others are concerned that Russia is readying itself for an invasion into the former Soviet republic.

About 8,500 U.S. military personnel have been put "on a heightened preparedness to deploy" in the event "NATO should activate the [NATO Response Force] or if other situations develop," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Monday.

"The United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us, our allies, or partners," Kirby said.

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