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UEFA must resist getting dragged into Ukraine's provocations, says Russian diplomat

On October 5, the UEFA unveiled a logo for the 2024 Euro Cup and during the presentation, one of the visual slides displayed a map where Russia’s Crimea was painted in the colors of the Ukrainian state flag

MOSCOW, October 7. /TASS/. The Union of European Football Federations (UEFA) should steer clear of being dragged into any inflammatory activities on behalf of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"The UEFA is a very respected organization and it should resist being roped into provocative steps on behalf of Ukraine’s football officials," Zakharova said speaking at a daily news briefing. "The fact that such steps are of a provocative nature is obvious to everyone."

Zakharova called on UEFA executives to focus on the ongoing developments within the organization.

"It is inadmissible to allow revanchist and extremist ideas to sink in," she continued.

The Russian diplomat stressed that the fact of Crimea being a part of the Russian territory cannot be altered "either by images on the Ukrainian national football team’s uniforms or by any sort of provocations."

All athletes, including those from the territory of Crimea, cannot be held hostage to intrigues and blackmail, according to her.

Zakharova particularly stressed that Russia had been a staunch supporter "of the honest and just sports, which is beyond any attempt of politicizing it as well as turning it into a tool of an unjust pressure or unfair competition."

On October 5, the UEFA unveiled a logo for the 2024 Euro Cup, which will be hosted by Germany between June 14 and July 14. During the presentation, one of the visual slides displayed a map of Europe and Russia’s Crimea was painted in the colors of the Ukrainian state flag.

Head of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov stated on Wednesday that the UEFA turned into a political tool after it painted Russia’s Crimea in the colors of the Ukrainian national flag on its logo for the 2024 Euro Cup.

Earlier in the year, the Ukrainian national team played at the 2020 Euro Cup in uniforms bearing a blurred image outlining Ukraine’s state borders, which included the territories in Donbass and also the territory of Russia’s Crimea.