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EURO 2020

Why has Russia complained to UEFA over Ukraine kit?

Ahead of Euro 2020, the Russian Football Union has appealed to Europe's governing body for 'explanations' over their concern about the Ukrainian design.

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Why has Russia complained to UEFA over Ukraine kit?
GLEB GARANICH REUTERS

On Wednesday Russia said that it had complained to European football governing body UEFA over Ukraine's new national team shirt which is emblazoned with a map including Crimea and words from a military slogan.

Euro 2020: Crimea map and slogan offend Russia

Russia considers the peninsula part of its territory and annexed it in 2014, but Crimea remains internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.

Russian officials view the kit as provocation, while Ukraine says it symbolises national unity. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday posted a selfie on Instagram of him in the jersey, which will feature in the upcoming European Championship.

"The Russian Football Union has appealed to UEFA to receive explanations," TASS quoted Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin as saying. "We have expressed our concern about the Ukrainian national team's kit."

The front of the yellow jersey shows the borders of Ukraine in white. A slogan at the top of the back reads "Glory to Ukraine!" while inside the shirt are the words: "Glory to the heroes!"

In Ukraine, those phrases are a military greeting.

Ukrainian manager Andriy Shevchenko, the former Chelsea striker, told reporters this week that he did not care about the Russian reaction. "I'm interested in our reaction. I think our fans liked our uniform, so I'm pleased," he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky making a selfie wearing Ukraine's national football team shirt.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky making a selfie wearing Ukraine's national football team shirt.

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 13 June in Amsterdam, and also face Austria and North Macedonia in Group C.

Russia take on Belgium, the world's top-ranked team, in their opener on home turf in St Petersburg on 12 June, before facing Denmark and Finland.