The Ukrainian football association’s president has sparked uproar in Russia by releasing a new national team shirt featuring a map of Ukraine that includes Crimea.
In 2014, Russia took Crimea from Ukraine. Although Moscow believes the peninsula to be part of Russia, it is universally recognised as being part of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s new shirt was presented on Sunday, only days before the start of the European Championship, on the Facebook page of the Football Association of Ukraine’s president, Andriy Pavelko.
The front of the yellow shirt shows the borders of Ukraine in white. A slogan at the top of the back reads “Glory to Ukraine!”. Inside the shirt is a slogan that declares “Glory to the heroes!”
Both phrases are used in Ukraine as an official military greeting.
Russian parliamentary deputy Dmitry Svishchev was quoted by Russian news agency RIA as saying the shirt design was “a political provocation”. He said showing a map of Ukraine “which includes a Russian territory is illegal.”
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on social media that the slogans on the shirts were nationalistic and that the slogan “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!” echoed a German Nazi rallying cry.
Relations between Moscow and Kyiv deteriorated sharply after the annexation of Crimea and the start of a Russian-backed separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Ukraine play their opening Euro 2020 match against the Netherlands on June 13 in Amsterdam, and also face Austria and North Macedonia in Group C.
Russia take on Belgium in St Petersburg on June 12, and also face Denmark and Finland in Group B.