WADA "encouraged" by Putin comments

The Russian president had said that any cheating is "unacceptable"

Russia, Vladimir Putin, sport

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Paralympics at the Fisht Olympic stadium in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

The World Anti-Doping Agency says it is "encouraged" after Russia's president Vladimir Putin admitted his state's anti-doping system had "failed".

However Putin denied there was a state-sponsored doping regime.

He says any cheating is "unacceptable" and that the country has to listen to the evidence of Richard McLaren's report.

WADA president Craig Reedie says it's a "step in the right direction" for Russia.

"WADA is encouraged by this sign of progress from the highest political levels in Russia today," he said.

"Since November 2015, the Agency, UK Anti-Doping and others have been working hard in supporting Russia’s efforts to rebuild a credible anti-doping system.

"This public admission by Russian President Vladimir Putin that their ‘anti-doping system has failed’ is an important step in the right direction.

WADA director general Olivier Niggli also added that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency must also prove its independence.

He said: "Effectively, RUSADA must demonstrate that its processes are truly autonomous, independent from outside interference and properly resourced for the task of protecting clean athletes both in Russia and abroad.

"Only once RUSADA, and its governing structures, has successfully demonstrated that it can achieve such independence, will Russian sport be able to redeem itself in the eyes of clean athletes and other stakeholders worldwide."