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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting of Russian ambassadors in Moscow, Russia, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ivan Sekretarev/Pool

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the exclusion of Russian track-and-field athletes from the Rio Olympics over doping allegations was discrimination and that a political campaign had been waged against Russian sportspeople.

Putin, who was addressing members of Russia's Olympic team in the Kremlin, said that the absence of some Russian sportspeople from the Olympics would damage international sport as well as the Olympics.

He said any medal won in Rio in the absence of Russian athletes would be worth much less than otherwise and that such victories would have a completely different taste.

(Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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