Ukrainian Politicians Sport National Colors After Team Advances At Euro 2020
June 30, 2021 18:32 GMT – By RFE/RL
Ukrainian leaders — from the prime minister to the mayor of Kyiv – donned yellow-and-blue jerseys to celebrate the national football team’s win over Sweden in the European Championships, advancing Ukraine to the last eight for the first time.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal chaired a cabinet meeting in a jersey that sported team captain Andriy Yarmolenko’s No. 7. Other ministers wore team shirts in the national colors.
“I congratulate and thank the guys and coaches for this victory,” Shmyhal said. “Such things motivate, unite the country, which supports our team with all its heart.”
Ukraine beat Sweden 2-1 at the end of extra time in Glasgow on June 29, matching the country’s biggest achievement at a major tournament. Ukraine last advanced to the quarterfinal stage at the 2006 World Cup.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko posted a picture of himself on Instagram in a blue national team jersey trimmed in yellow and holding two thumbs up.
“Go Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes!” he wrote in an accompanying caption.
Ukraine’s jerseys for Euro 2020 sparked controversy earlier this month when Moscow objected over an outline on them that included Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014. Russia was also upset over the patriotic phrases “Glory to Ukraine” and “Glory to the heroes” that were written on the shirts.
European football’s governing body UEFA initially approved the design but later ordered the removal of the slogan “Glory to the heroes,” saying the combination of the two phrases was “clearly political in nature.”
After the Kremlin took Crimea by force, Russia tried to legitimize its actions with a referendum widely derided as a sham. This vote was conducted in a heavily militarized environment and was illegal under the Ukrainian Constitution. The result has never been recognized by most of the international community.
Ukraine’s quarterfinal match is against England on July 3 in Rome. The team is considered an underdog against England, which advanced on June 29 by defeating Germany.