football

Euro 2020: Russia angered by Ukraine kit featuring map of Crimea


Ukraine’s new Euro 2020 kit has sparked anger in Russia for featuring a map of the country that includes Crimea.

The new national football team shirt is emblazoned with the slogan “Glory to Ukraine!” and a map of its borders including Crimea – which Russia considers part of its territory.

The yellow shirt was unveiled on Sunday by the head of the Ukrainian football association, Andriy Pavelko, in a video on his Facebook page.

The front of the kit shows the borders of Ukraine in white, including Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist-controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

On the back, a slogan reads “Glory to Ukraine!” The slogan was used as a patriotic chant by protesters who forced out a pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovych, in 2014.

“We believe that Ukraine’s silhouette will give strength to the players because they will fight for all of Ukraine,” Mr Pavelko said in the video.

“And all Ukraine, from Sevastopol and Simferopol to Kyiv, from Donetsk and Lugansk to Uzhgorod will support them in every match.”

The US embassy in Kyiv tweeted in support for the new kit on Monday, writing: “Love the new look”.

Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and considers it a part of its territory, but it is internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian football team, in its uniform, annexed the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Crimea,” said Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, adding the slogan echoed a German Nazi rallying cry.

“The explanation is as metaphysical as the agonizing artistic liberty itself – it is to cheer up the players,” she continued.

“Too bad they have to pin their hopes on this only. The technique is not new. It is …an art technique used to make an illusion of the impossible or, on the contrary, picturing something non-existing as though it can be touched.”

Relations between the two nations have deteriorated significantly since Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

In April, tensions rose over a conflict in eastern Ukraine as Russian troops began building up near its border with Ukraine.

The move provoked fears that Russia could be about to escalate its seven-year conflict with its neighbour.

It also followed both the increase in forces along its border and a rise in cease-fire violations and deaths in the Russian-backed separatist regions in the southeast of the country.

In a statement, the European football governing body Uefa said: “The shirt of the Ukrainian national team (and of all other teams) for Uefa Euro 2020 has been approved by Uefa, in accordance with the applicable equipment regulations.”



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