"I sincerely congratulate the Russian team with a worthy performance at the XXXI Olympics, and I want to thank you for going through a very severe test with dignity. You have shown great skill, the best endurance and stamina, and confirmed Russia’s strong position in world sport," Putin said.
"You, dear friends, coped with all the difficulties, performed as a unified team, proved that victory is given not only by the number – although the number was important in this case – but at least perhaps more importantly, skill. As real fighters, you have not drifted, not broken, but fought and won."
The Russian national Olympic team was allowed to take part in the August 5-21 Games with the notable exception of weightlifters and all but one track and field athletes. Several Russian competitors won their CAS appeals against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and sports federations' bans.
"We know how difficult it has been for our athletes in Rio. On the eve of the competition, our team has been cut by a third. It was deprived of the opportunity to showcase themselves in sports where Russia is traditionally recognized as a frontrunners," Putin said at a ceremony awarding Russian winners and runners-up in the Kremlin.
He added that Russia cannot accept any doping accusations of Russian atheletes without any proof presented.
"We do not accept and cannot accept any accusations against our athletes if they are not supported by evidence and facts. We will regard this as manipulation," Putin maintained.
Disqualifying Russian paralympians from the upcoming Rio Games is beyond law and morality, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
"The decision to disqualify the paralympians is outside the law and outside morality. It is cynical to take it out on those for whom sport has become the meaning of life, who by their example give hope and faith in their own strength to millions of people with disabilities. I feel sorry for those who make such decisions, because they cannot understand that it is humiliating to them themselves."
Russia will organize special competitions for paralympians disqualified from the upcoming Rio summer games, Putin said. "We of course will support you and organize special events where you can showcase your skills. The rewards for winners will be the same as they would be at the end of the Paralympic Games," Putin said.
The Olympic ideals have been blatantly trampled by politics, Putin said.
"Unfortunately, we witnessed how the humanistic foundations of sports and Olympism were blatantly trampled by politics," Putin said, adding that "qualities such as greed and perhaps even cowardice are prevailing over the Olympic ideals."