Ukraine have revealed a new shirt for Euro 2020 that features a map of the country including the Crimea, sparking anger in Russia.
The kit, styled in the national team’s traditional yellow and blue, features a white outline surrounding the badge that depicts the country’s borders.
The Crimean Peninsula, which is included in the design, was annexed by Russia in 2014 but is still internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.
The shirt also contains the inscriptions “Glory to Ukraine” and “Glory to heroes”, each of which is acknowledged as an official military greeting in the country.
Andriy Pavelko, president of the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF), said: “We believe that the silhouette of Ukraine will add strength to the players because they will fight for the whole country.”
The design was described as an “absurdity” by Dmitry Svishchev, a deputy of the Russian State Duma, who told RT he expects UEFA to take action.
“Crimea has been an integral territory of Russia for seven years,” he said. “I am sure that UEFA should react strongly to what has happened.
“The Ukrainian national team still has time to [create] a new uniform in order to go to the European Championship not to work out political slogans, but to fight for the honour of their country in their favourite sport.”
However, Anatoly Vorobyov, the former general secretary of the Russian Football Union (RFU), believes only an official Russian complaint would be likely to get the footballing authorities involved.
“In the meantime, [UEFA] have a more serious task in the form of holding the European Championship in several countries in the context of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said, as per RT.
“You shouldn’t make a serious informational occasion out of what happened. Everyone uses these things to promote certain political views. I don’t want to seem banal but sport should remain outside of politics. Unfortunately, in our time, this is not always the case.”
Ukraine begin their Euro 2020 campaign against the Netherlands on June 13 and also face Austria and North Macedonia in Group C.
Russia, who start against Belgium on June 12, are also joined by Denmark and Finland in Group B.