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Ukraine voices ‘sadness’ over ‘Vladimir Putin’ chant in Istanbul

Istanbul (AFP) – Ukraine’s envoy to Turkey on Thursday expressed “sadness” over a chant of “Vladimir Putin” that rang out at a Champions League qualifying round football match in Istanbul involving Dynamo Kyiv.

Images on social media showed a section of Fenerbahce’s packed stadium singing the Russian president’s name in response to Dynamo’s first goal against the Istanbul side on Wednesday.

The Ukrainians won the match 2-1 after drawing 0-0 in the home leg played in Poland because of Russia’s invasion.

They now progress to the third round of qualifying while Fenerbahce are knocked out.

The chant appeared to be an attempt by Fenerbahce’s supporters to goad Dynamo’s fans at the park after the opening goal.

“Football is a fair game. Yesterday Dynamo Kyiv were stronger,” Ukraine’s ambassador Vasyl Bodnar tweeted.

“It is very sad to hear the words of support from Fenerbahce’s fans for a Russian murderer and aggressor who bombed our country,” Bodnar wrote.

“I am grateful to the friendly Turkish people for their support of Ukraine and for their consideration of the inappropriate actions of the fans.”

Ukraine was able to repel Russia’s attempt to seize Kyiv in the first weeks of its invasion five months ago.

Putin has questioned the Ukrainian nation’s right to exist and branded its leaders as “Nazis” who must be deposed.

The war has claimed thousands of lives and featured relentless missile and rocket attacks against Ukrainian cities that have killed civilians daily.

Turkey has tried to stay neutral in the conflict despite its membership of the US-led NATO defence alliance.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Putin for the first time since Russia’s invasion in Tehran last week.

He is due to meet the Russian leader again at his Black Sea resort retreat in Sochi on August 5.

Dynamo Kyiv and fellow Ukrainian league leaders Shakhtar Donetsk have played a series of friendly matches across Europe aimed at raising money for families impacted by the war.

Shakhtar’s friendly in June against Fenerbahce in Istanbul was attended by numerous Ukrainians who have come to Turkey to escape the war.

“I did not expect such a chant,” Dynamo’s Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu told Turkish media. “It is a pity.”

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