Russia cries foul over Ukraine's Euro '20 shirts a week before Oranje match
Ukraine's Euro '20 jersey, featuring a map of the country including Crimea, has sparked anger in Russia. The Crimean Peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014 but is still recognized internationally as part of Ukraine. The outcry comes less than a week before the Dutch men's national football team takes on Ukraine in their Euro opening game.
The jersey has a white outline around the badge reflecting the country's borders and is stylized in the national team's characteristic yellow and blue. Andriy Pavelko, the president of the Ukrainian Football Association, presented the kit in a video posted on his Facebook page on Sunday. "We believe that the silhouette of Ukraine will empower the players because they will fight for the whole Ukraine," said Pavelko.
The slogans reading "Glory to Ukraine" and "Glory to Heroes" are also featured on the jersey. Both are recognized as official military greetings in Ukraine. The map also shows regions of Donetsk and Lugansk controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which originated in Amsterdam, was shot down in July 2014 in the region of Donetsk.
A Russian MP has called the jersey a "political provocation". He has urged the organization of the European Championship to take action against the team. A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry also told the BBC that the shirt created the "illusion of the impossible".
Oranje is set to open the tournament against Ukraine at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam on Sunday. They will take on Austria four days later. They will then complete the group stage of a tournament with a game against North Macedonia on June 21.
There was also a controversy involving North Macedonia's shirt, which was praised by players and the organization, but was reportedly disliked by fans. The team is exploring if it win late approval to wear its shirts from previous international competitions.
The event, which was postponed last year due to Covid-19, will take place from June 11 to July 11 in across 11 host cities.