Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov (centre) attends a meeting on the country's participation at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, in December Moscow. Photo: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea - The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has paid $15 million to help develop international anti-doping efforts as part of the conditions set for the country's possible return to the Games, it said on Thursday.

Russians are competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics as neutral athletes after the national team was barred over allegations of state-sponsored doping, which Moscow denies.

The ROC said it had to fulfil a number of conditions in order to be reinstated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"One of these, is the payment of 15 million dollars for the development of international doping systems, and coordination in this area between the IOC, (World Anti-Doping Agency) and international sports federations," the ROC said in a statement.

"As of today, this sum has been paid in full by the ROC."

Sources in Pyeongchang said earlier on Thursday that the IOC is edging closer to allowing Russian athletes to march behind their national flag at the Winter Games closing ceremony.

But Russia's hopes of a full return to Olympic competition suffered a serious blow this week when a Russian curling medallist was found guilty of an anti-doping violation and stripped of his medal.

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