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Russian diplomats in France work closely with 3 sentenced Russian football fans — official

June 17, 14:28 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG
A court in Marseille ruled on Thursday to sentence three earlier detained Russian football fans to prison terms between 12 and 24 months
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Russian fans at 2016 UEFA Euro Cup

Russian fans at 2016 UEFA Euro Cup

© AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

ST. PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. The Russian Consulate General’s Office in France implies all efforts to provide legal assistance to three Russian football fans, who were sentenced by a French court on Friday to prison terms between one and two years, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on Friday.

"Our consulate staff is working on this issue," Dvorkovich said when asked whether the three Russian nationals were receiving support from their country’s diplomats.

A court in Marseille ruled on Thursday to sentence three earlier detained Russian football fans, namely Alexei Yerunov, Sergei Gorbachev and Nikolai Morozov, to prison terms between 12 and 24 months after finding them guilty of taking part in mass disturbances last week at the 2016 Euro Cup match between England and Russia.

The Russian deputy premier added that supporters of all national football teams at the 2016 Euro Cup should be treated equally.

"Supporters of almost all teams include hooligans, radical groups; and it goes for English, French and our fans among the others," Dvorkovich said. "There are those who really break the law and the must be brought to account."

All sentenced Russians are of the age between 28 and 33 years. French La Marseillaise daily reported on Thursday that Yerunov was handed a two-year prison term, while Gorbachev and Morozov were sentenced to 18 months and 12 months in prison respectively.

Numerous clashes were reported between football fans at the major European football tournament, currently underway in France. Most notorious altercations erupted between Russian and English fans ahead of the June 11th match. Brawls began on Thursday in Marseille peaking at June 11th match.

Law enforcement resorted to tear gas, smoke pellets and water cannons to disperse the brawlers. Over 30 people were reported to be hurt in clashes, with four people hospitalized after sustaining severe injuries.

On Tuesday, French law enforcers stopped a bus with over 43 Russian football fans en-route from Marseille to Lille, where their national team played its second group stage match against Slovakia on Wednesday.

Yerunov, Gorbachev and Morozov were among the Russian supporters from the bus and they were all officially detained for 48-hour period and returned to Marseille, where they were investigated on the issue of their involvement in the skirmishes with English hooligans.

According to the most recent media reports, a total of 20 Russian football fans were eventually ordered a deportation from France, while 20 more were released from custody.

UEFA announced on Tuesday its decision to fine the Russian Football Union (RFU) 150,000 euros ($168,200) over Russian football fans’ misconduct during their national team’s opening match of the 2016 Euro Cup against England last week.

Moreover, the European governing body of football issued a suspended disqualification for the Russian team, which means that the national squad would be disqualified from the major European football tournament in case of the repeated instance of Russian fans misconduct.

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