MOSCOW (AP) — Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says the state will never acknowledge the accusation of state-sponsored doping that prevents the Russia team from competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics because it considers it false.

Speaking at a Cabinet session on Thursday, he also argued that the International Olympic Committee decision on Tuesday to ban the Russia team from the Winter Games in South Korea for anti-doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Games had political underpinnings. He said the move was taken in order to influence public opinion in Russia ahead of the March 18 presidential election.

Medvedev says the Cabinet will support Russians who want to compete as neutral athletes at the games in February.

RUSSIAN DOPING-ZUBKOV

Olympic panel details Sochi bobsled champion's doping case

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — An Olympic disciplinary panel says "powerful" evidence proved that two-time bobsled gold medalist Alexander Zubkov took part in the 2014 Sochi Games doping conspiracy.

In its full decision published on Thursday of a Nov. 24 verdict, the IOC disciplinary panel chaired by Denis Oswald detailed why it disqualified Zubkov and banned him for life from the Olympics.

The verdicts states one sample had "an abnormally high level of salt" and two scratched bottles were tampered with. Laboratory staff added salt to clean stored urine that was swapped in for steroid-tainted samples during the games.

The panel says similar evidence exists in seven more cases from Russia's Sochi bobsled teams.