Kremlin rejects talks of boycotting the Olympics _ for now

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin has dismissed talk of an Olympic boycott after some of Russia's top athletes were barred from competing at the Pyeongchang Games.

Several of the country's top medal hopes, including six-time short-track speedskating gold medalist Viktor Ahn, were barred from next month's games amid the country's ongoing doping scandal, which has already forced Russia to compete under a neutral flag.

Asked whether the Kremlin might consider a boycott in light of the new restrictions, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said "right now it is important to avoid words like 'boycott.'"

Peskov said the Russian government is going to focus on communicating with the International Olympic Committee to defend its athletes.

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