Russia will address the World Anti-Doping Agency's concerns over alleged "inconsistencies" in the data it provided in January within three weeks, Alexander Ivlev, chairman of the supervisory board of Russia's anti-doping authority, said on Monday.
Speculation surfaced in Western media last week that Russia imanipulated the data in the Moscow anti-doping lab, and that it may be suspended from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a result.
Ivlev said it was too soon to talk about the possible ban: "Let's speak objectively: they (WADA) have questions. Our specialists are preparing the answer, so let's wait."
A Kremlin spokesperson said they were aware of WADA's complaints and that the appropriate agencies would provide the answer within the given time-frame.
"We know that WADA has a range of questions. The answer to these questions should be prepared within three weeks. We just have to wait for three weeks," Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov vowed that Russia would provide "all possible assistance" to WADA regarding the data.
Earlier in the day, WADA announced it had launched a process to determine whether Russia's anti-doping agency (RUSADA) is complying with its standards, citing alleged "inconsistencies" in the data retrieved from the Moscow laboratory.
WADA's Compliance Review Committee on Monday briefed the agency's Executive Committee on the analysis of the data from Moscow. "The [Executive Committee] was informed that further investigation ... of inconsistencies in Moscow Laboratory data ... had led WADA to open a formal compliance procedure against RUSADA on 17 September 2019," the anti-doping watchdog said in statement on Monday.
RUSADA Deputy Director General Margarita Pakhnotskaya said the Russian agency fully complies with WADA standards and recalled that WADA inspectors had conducted two audits at RUSADA in the past two years (in December 2018 and September 2017).
RUSADA was suspended in 2015 following accusations of a massive state-sponsored doping programme in Russia. Moscow admitted there were some isolated cases of doping but denied the allegations of running a complex doping scheme at the national level.
Russian athletes were later barred from international competitions and stripped of their medals, including the 2018 Winter Olympics, with select athletes cleared of charges allowed to compete under a neutral flag. RUSADA was reinstated in September 2018, on condition that it must provide access to stored lab samples and electronic data.
WADA obtained over 2,000 samples from RUSADA's Moscow lab in January this year and flagged 298 athletes as suspicious.