Vladimir Putin has called for an internal investigation following the publication of a report of alleged doping which it believes should result in Russian athletes being suspended from competition.
Allegations of "corruption and bribery" at the highest levels of international athletics were this week made in a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The commission, led by former WADA president Dick Pound, was set up to investigate allegations of systemic cheating and cover-ups within Russian athletics.
WADA also confirmed the immediate suspension of accreditation for the Moscow Anti-Doping Centre.
A spokesperson for Putin believes stated that accusations of state-sponsored doping are "groundless", but the Russian president on Wednesday had his first say on the matter.
Putin is quoted as saying by Russian News Agency TASS: "As regards the latest events connected with our athletics federation, I ask the sports minister, all colleagues who are connected with sports in this or that way, to pay close attention to that.
"It's necessary to conduct an internal investigation of our own and ensure the most open, professional, I would underscore, cooperation with international anti-doping structures."
Putin also stated that individuals should be punished if proven guilty rather than a complete ban on Russian athletes.
"If we come to a conclusion that someone is responsible for an action that breaks the rules in the anti-doping sphere, then the responsibility for this should be personalised," he said.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has earlier said Britain's anti-doping system is "even worse" than Russia's after calls for athletes to be stripped of medals won at the 2012 London Olympics.