Ukraine’s football association has upped the ante in the country’s long stand-off with neighbour Russia after unveiling its squad’s new football kit for the European Championships.
The jerseys feature an outline of Ukraine on the front, including the Crimea Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, an action that led to sanctions on the Kremlin and Russian interests from the US and European Union.
Both countries are involved in the championships — postponed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic — that kick off on 11 June.
The Ukraine team’s jerseys also feature a slogan on the back that reads “Glory to Ukraine!”, with another inside the shirt reading “Glory to the heroes!”
Andriy Pavelko, the head of Ukraine’s football association, said: "We believe that Ukraine's silhouette will give strength to the players because they will fight for all of Ukraine.”
Russian politician Dmitry Svishchev was quoted by Russian news agency RIA as saying the shirt design was "a political provocation", adding that depicting a map of Ukraine with Russian territory was “illegal”.
Russia and Ukraine have over the years regularly been at loggerheads over transits of Russian gas through its neighbour’s territory to European markets.
It remains to be seen if Ukraine’s choice of outfits for the football tournament leads to any friction on the pitch as the two countries are not in the same group for the opening games.
Ukraine will face the Netherlands, Austria and North Macedonia in Group C, while Russia will take on Belgium, Denmark and Finland in