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Ukraine’s new uniform for Euro 2020 has sparked anger in Russia as it features a map of the country that features Crimea.
Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and considers it part of its territory, but it is recognized worldwide as part of Ukraine.
Russian MP Dmitry Svishchev called the use of the logo on the shirt “a political provocation.”
The front of the yellow shirt shows Ukraine’s borders, including Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist-controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and a commercial showing the kit also highlights this border.
The slogan at the top of the back reads: “Glory to Ukraine!” – a patriotic song used by the demonstrators who ousted the pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 – and inside the inscription reads: “Glory to the heroes!”
Both phrases are also used in Ukraine as an official military greeting.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told TASS to the Russian news agency that it was “agonizing creative freedom.”
She said: “The Ukrainian football team annexed Ukraine to the Russian Crimea.
“The explanation is as metaphysical as the excruciating artistic freedom itself — it is meant to cheer up the players.
“It is a shame that they should place their hopes on this alone. The technique is not new. This is … an artistic technique used to create the illusion of the impossible, or, conversely, the image of something non-existent, as if it could be touched, “she said.
Condemning the shirt as a “political provocation,” Mr. Svishchev told the Russian news agency RIA that it was “illegal” to display a map of Ukraine, which includes Russian territory.
Opening the kit, the head of the Football Association of Ukraine Andriy Pavelko said on his Facebook page: “We believe that the silhouette of Ukraine will add strength to the players, because they will fight for the whole of Ukraine.”
Ukraine will play its first Euro 2020 match against the Netherlands on June 13 in Amsterdam.
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