MOSCOW (AP) – Experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency have begun copying data from a Moscow laboratory that could involve many Russian athletes in previous drug cases.

"The work began with the equipment, configuration and copying of the database," Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Thursday in a television commentary. "The work continues with full coordination because we had discussed all the technical and organizational details before."

In an e-mailed statement, WADA did not immediately confirm the data transfer but said: "The team had access to the lab and reported no problem until they were not available. "Now".

The Agency asked Russia in September to release the data by December 31 in exchange for lifting the suspension of its National Anti-Doping Agency for almost three years. Many Western athletes and organizations have criticized WADA for allowing Russia to provide data after the deadline.

A WADA delegation left Moscow empty-handed in December after Russian officials claimed that its equipment was not certified under Russian law.

Travis Tygart, CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency, said that if the information provided by Russia was accurate, "it's a good thing," but he still asked WADA. to re-impose the suspension of RUSADA and to treat transparently what it calls "9,000 presumptively positive drugs". tests. "

"Until this is done and the urine samples contained in the Moscow laboratory are seized by WADA as agreed, the WADA should declare the Russians non-compliant to have missed the December 31 deadline, "said Tygart. "To be reinstated, they should at least be required to cooperate with dozens of international sports federations responsible for prosecuting thousands of people in legal proceedings."

AMA is looking for data spanning several years until 2015, when the laboratory was decommissioned. The WADA investigations revealed that hundreds of renowned Russian athletes practicing dozens of sports have systematically concealed laboratory personnel.

This eventually led Russia to be punished with restrictions at last year's Olympic Winter Games, where she lined up a smaller team than usual under the title "Russian Olympians" and a neutral flag.

A vehicle bearing the insignia of the investigation commission, a Russian law enforcement agency, arrived at the laboratory earlier on Thursday.

The investigating committee isolated the data and samples at the laboratory as part of its own doping investigation. The former director of the laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, was described as the key witness of WADA, a liar who deceived innocent athletes by asking them to take banned substances.