Russia has harshly criticized Ukraine for its national team’s new uniforms after they were unveiled over the weekend for the European Football Championship that begin this week, Politico reported on Monday.
The shirt for the national team shows a map of Ukraine that includes Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, as well as Donetsk and Lugansk, regions which are both controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
On the back of the shirt is the slogan "Glory to Ukraine!" which was popular during the demonstrations that ousted the country’s pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.
Russia’s Foreign Affairs Department Press Director Maria Zakharova slammed Ukraine’s national team jersey, saying that "The Ukrainian football team, in its uniform, annexed the territory of Ukraine to the Russian Crimea."
She added that the slogan is "a copy of the famous German National Socialist greetings."
In addition, Russian Parliament members have called the uniforms "totally inappropriate" and a "political provocation," the BBC reported, with MP Dmitry Svishchev urging UEFA, the European football governing body, to take action.
But UEFA said in a statement to the BBC that "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."
The tournament, which was postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will take place from June 11 to July 11 in 11 different host cities. One of the hosts is Russia's Saint Petersburg, where a number of matches, including a quarterfinal contest, are scheduled to take place.
Ukrainian Association of Football President Andrii Pavelko said over the weekend on Facebook, where he posted pictures of the nationa team's uniform, that "Ukraine’s silhouette [on the uniform] will give strength to the players because they will fight for all of Ukraine."
The U.S. embassy in Kyiv expressed its support for the new unforms on Monday, posting on Twitter, "Love the new look. Glory to Ukraine! #CrimeaisUkraine."
Ukraine is not currently scheduled to play in Russia or against the Russian national team in the tournament, The Guardian reported.
Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has since then made attempts to integrate the peninsula into Russia permanently. However, the area is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.
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