Euro 2020: Ukraine’s new football kit irritates Russia over Crimea map

It is a decision that angered Russia.

Andrii Pavelko, president of the Ukrainian football association, posted photos of the Euro 2020 jersey on Facebook on Sunday.

“A unique and indivisible homeland with Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kiev, my native Dnipro, Lviv, Odessa and all towns and villages, where the main melody of childhood is the melody of the national anthem.”

The shirt also features the slogan
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Russia has indicated that it intends to keep Crimea because it considers it part of the Russian state.

Tensions between the two countries erupted in April after a buildup of Russian troops along the border in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian government forces fought Russian-backed separatists demanding independence for Kiev since 2014.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS news agency on Sunday that the inclusion of Crimea on Ukraine’s map was an attempt to create “an illusion of the impossible”.

The slogan "Glory to the heroes"  is printed on the inside of the collar.

However, Pavelko said he believed “Ukraine’s silhouette will give the players strength as they will fight for the whole of Ukraine”.

“And all of Ukraine, from Sevastopol and Simferopol to Kiev, from Donetsk and Luhansk to Uzhhorod, will support them in every game,” he added.

The shirt will also feature the slogan “Glory to Ukraine” on the back and “Glory to the heroes” on the inside of the collar.

Zakharova criticized the inclusion of the sentences, which she linked to Ukrainian nationalists who fought alongside the Nazis in World War II.

“Kiev apparently seeks to take this slogan away from its uncomfortable origin and fill it with a new, positive meaning for the whole world to see as progressive,” she said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised the team’s new jersey on Twitter on Monday.

“I really like the new form of our team,” he tweeted. “I can say one thing to anyone who has whistled because the internationally recognized borders or the official salvation of our state cut their eyes off: we will not allow our national symbols to be insulted. Glory to Ukraine! Together towards victory! “

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However, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov played down the matter during a call with reporters on Monday.

“Sport is sport. We must be above incitement to hatred between Russians and Ukrainians,” he said.

“We are convinced that we are two related peoples. In our country, Ukrainians are always welcome.”

UEFA, the governing body of European football that hosts Euro 2020, told CNN in a statement that it had approved the shirt.

“The jersey of the Ukrainian national team (and all other teams) for UEFA EURO 2020 has been approved by UEFA in accordance with the applicable equipment rules,” the statement said.

The tournament is due to start on Friday, having been delayed from last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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