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Entire Russian Paralympic team banned from competition in Rio

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, speaks with athletes of the Russian Paralympic cycling team as he visits a sports training center in Sochi, the Black Sea resort that hosted this year's Winter Olympics, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. At left is Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service

Last Updated Aug 7, 2016 11:57 AM EDT

RIO DE JANEIRO - The entire Russia team has been banned from competing in the Paralympic Games in September as punishment for the country's systematic doping program.

The International Paralympic Committee's blanket ban on Russia is in sharp contrast to the earlier decision by the IOC to allow individual sports to decide whether Russians can compete in the Olympics.

The IPC has strongly condemned Russia's years of doping deception, including the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, that were exposed by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren last month.

Russia immediately announced it would be appealing against the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Reuters reports.

McLaren reported that Russia's state-backed doping led to samples from Paralympic athletes being made to disappear.

Russia finished second in the medal standings at the 2012 London Paralympics and had 267 athlete slots for Rio in 18 sports.

The IOC approved the entry of 271 Russian athletes for the Rio Olympic Games, meaning 70 percent of the country's original team will compete after a doping scandal that has dominated the buildup to the games. Overall, more than 100 Russians have been excluded, including 67 in track and field.

The IOC recently rejected calls from anti-doping organizations to ban Russia's entire team following a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency investigator that detailed evidence of state-directed doping and cover-ups.

Instead, the IOC asked international federations to examine individual Russian athletes to determine if they should be eligible for the games. The IOC set up a panel of three executive board members to review the entries and make the final call, taking into account the advice of an independent sports arbitrator.

IOC President Thomas Bach again defended the decision not to ban the entire Russian Olympic team, insisting that athletes cannot be punished for the wrongdoing of their government.

"We had to follow the rules of justice and justice has to be independent from politics," Bach said. "You cannot answer to a violation of a law by another violation of a law. This is destroying justice. We had to respect basic principles of natural law."