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Ukraine denies racist allegations ahead of Euro-2012 tournament

May 30, 2012, 20:23 UTC+3

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has voiced concern over the recent smear campaign against Ukraine in the British media

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KIEV, May 30 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine’s law enforcers don’t have information that mass riots inspired by racial hatred will be held in Kiev during the Euro-2012 football final.

“At present, we don’t have information that mass disturbances or provocations against dark-skinned people are being planned in Ukraine,” Sergei Pogotov, the head of the public order department at Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, told a news conference on Wednesday. He added that Ukraine had enough policemen to react to such threats.

According to Pogotov, both Ukrainian and UEFA experts describe risks during the Euro-2012 tournament as minimal. The stadiums where matches will be played are the safest places of the tournament, he said.

Pogotov emphasized that all police units and interior troops would be put on alert during the championship. He noted that police were already investigating two criminal cases involving the sale of false tickets to the Euro-2012 matches. He urged all Ukrainians to buy tickets exclusively from official distributors.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has voiced concern over the recent smear campaign against Ukraine in the British media.

“We consider some media reports in the United Kingdom on alleged racist sentiment in Ukraine as absolutely unacceptable and not reflecting the real state of things,“Oleg Voloshin, the head of the information policy department of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, said on Monday.

“That contradicts our views. The Ukrainians are a friendly and tolerant nation,” Voloshin stressed.

Earlier, Sol Campbell, the former England national team captain, warned British fans against travelling to Poland and Ukraine because these countries had problems with racism.

Ukrainians Andrei Shevchenko and Oleg Luzhny, who played in the English Premier League for the London clubs Chelsea and Arsenal, have categorically denied these accusations.

“We don’t have problems with racism. Ukraine is a peaceful country with friendly people. The Ukrainians are doing everything to host the European championship at a high level,” Shevchenko told the British media.

The Euro-2012 championship has been a life dream for many Ukrainian football fans. The Ukrainian capital of Kiev is making finishing touches ahead of the forthcoming tournament.

The demonstration of the Euro-2012 main trophy, the Henri Delaunay Cup, in various Ukrainian cities inspired the whole country. The tournament’s organizers are brushing up the city and football infrastructure in Kiev, while the fans are feeling themselves as an inseparable part of the European football family. All Kiev-based media, especially television, are supporting this emotional uplift, running the Euro-2012-related stories almost every day.



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