'I'm proud to be Russian... you sit on your a** in English mansions and are nasty': Russia football captain Artem Dzyuba breaks his silence to ATTACK Ukraine's Zinchenko and Yarmolenko for their war postsby Adam Shergold for MailOnline · Mail Online
- Russia captain Artem Dzyuba has spoken out about the invasion of Ukraine
- Instagram post described war as 'frightful' but didn't condemn Russia's actions
- Dzyuba also hit out at Ukrainian footballers in England who'd criticised him
- Vitaliy Mykolenko and Andriy Yarmolenko had blasted Dzyuba on social media
- It came after Russia were kicked out of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar
Russia's football captain Artem Dzyuba has finally broken his silence on his country's invasion of Ukraine after being slammed by Ukrainian players.
In a statement released on Instagram, the 33-year-old Zenit St Petersburg striker described war as a 'frightful thing'.
But Dzyuba didn't condemn Russia's aggressive actions, spoke of his pride in his nationality and hit back at the Ukrainian footballers 'who sit on their a** in mansions in England' who were saying 'nasty things'.
Everton and Ukraine defender Vitaliy Mykolenko had called Dzyuba a 'silent b***h' and his Russian national team colleagues 's***heads' for not speaking out to condemn the war, adding 'you and your kids will spend your lives in a dungeon.'
It came after Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko launched a verbal assault on Russian president Vladimir Putin, whom he called a 'creature' and wished a 'painful death'.
And West Ham's Ukrainian star Andriy Yarmolenko went further by bringing up Dzyuba's notorious sex tape, saying 'I know some of you like to show your balls on camera but now the time's come to show your balls in real life.'
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Dzyuba wrote: 'Until recently, I did not want to speak on the topic of events in Ukraine.
'I didn't want to, not because I'm afraid, but because I'm not an expert in politics, I never got into it and didn't intend to (unlike a large number of political scientists and virologists who have recently appeared on the Internet).
'But like everyone else, I have my own opinion. Since I am being drawn to this topic from all sides, I will express it.
'I am against any war. War is a frightful thing. But I am also against human aggression and hatred, which is gaining some sort of devastating scale every day.
'I am not afraid that I am Russian. I'm proud to be Russian. And I don't understand why athletes have to suffer now. I am against double standards.
'Why is it that one can do everything, and they hang all dogs on us.
'Why has everyone shouted about sports staying outside of politics but, at the first opportunity, when it comes to Russia, this principle is completely forgotten?
'I repeat, war is scary. In stressful situations, people show their true essence, sometimes negative. How much anger, dirt and bile has now been poured on all Russian people, regardless of their position and profession.
'Those thousands of people why write insults and threats, get in line!
'It is doubly strange to hear all this from people to whom Russia has given very, very much in their lives. All this only creates more negativity.
'The war will end but human relations will remain and it will be impossible to rewind back. Keep this in mind.'
He added: 'And to some colleagues who sit on their a** in mansions in England and say nasty things: It cannot offend us, we understand everything! Peace and goodness to everybody!'
Zinchenko replied hours later, saying: 'We continue the information propaganda of the truth. There are several important messages that I want to get to the public, in particular regarding the citizens of the aggressor country and "colleagues in the workshop."
'There was a period in my football career when I played for FC UEFA. It was a hard, but rewarding 1.5 years. I will always be grateful to this club for everything they have done for me. But I want to emphasise that I became a football player in Ukraine.
'It was on my native land that I got my football education, underwent training in academies and grew up. Therefore, to all those who say that Russian football raised me, I want to say once again: I am a pupil of the academy of the beautiful UKRAINIAN city of Donetsk! And on we go... your trump argument "sports beyond politics."
'Indeed, sports should not be part of campaigning, party race, slogan promotion or PR platform. But sport, like any field of life, cannot stand on the side of issues of war, aggression and death.
'Everyone, regardless of profession, has to fight evil. Why do Ukrainian football players call for football sanctions against the aggressor country? Do we really want to deprive you of the opportunity to do what you love? NOPE! We use all means to stop the aggressor country in its occupant ambitions.
'Evil must be punished on every platform accessible to society. We will be knocking on your doors with sanctions with even more aggression than you do when you cross the border of our state with guns.
'Stopping the occupation is the main and only goal of all our actions. And the last one. Russian footballers hold a multi-million-dollar audience. People love you, they support you and listen to you. Therefore, being silent is a crime.
'I know that in your country you are punished for opposing thinking, but when the opposition becomes a majority - it begins to be in power. So all the people who don't wish death and hate in the world need to scream loud and clear about it. You can't be afraid of petty punishments when a human life is at stake. Glory to Ukraine!'
It came after Russia were kicked out of qualification for this year's World Cup in Qatar, with Poland given a bye to the play-off final against either Sweden or Czech Republic later this month.
All three national associations had refused to play against the Russian team, part of a broader 'cancelling' of the nation's athletes and sports teams from international sport.
Several national teams have stated they won't play Russia at any level until further notice in protest at their actions in Ukraine.
Ukraine war: The latest
- Russian paratroopers land in Ukraine's second city amid heavy fighting
- 'There are practically no areas left in Kharkiv where an artillery shell has not yet hit': Interior Ministry official
- Joe Biden brands Vladimir Putin a 'dictator' in his annual State of the Union address as he bans Russian aircraft from US airspace
- Russia steps up its bombing campaign and missile strikes, hitting Kyiv's main television tower, two residential buildings in a town west of the city and the city of Bila Tserkva to the south of the capital
- Russian forces push into the besieged Black Sea city of Kherson in the south
- Russian attacks leave Mariupol, another Black Sea port further to the west without electricity
- More than 677,000 people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion, the UN's refugee agency says
- The UN's International Court of Justice says it will hold public hearings on March 7 and 8 over Ukraine's allegations of 'genocide' by Russia
- Russia blocks an independent television channel and a liberal radio station, tightening a virtual media blackout
- A string of Western companies announce they are freezing or scaling back business with Russia
- Russians race to withdraw cash after the introduction of capital controls and as the ruble hits record lows
- Russian-owned Nord Stream 2 goes insolvent after Germany halts the pipeline following Moscow's invasion
- Oil prices soar past $110 a barrel, despite agreements to release 60 million barrels from stockpiles
- The World Bank prepares a $3-billion aid package for Ukraine, including $350 million in immediate funds
UEFA are almost certain to kick Russia out of the women's Euros in England this summer, when they are due to play group matches against Holland, Switzerland and Sweden and could have faced England in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile in the Europa League, Spartak Moscow were removed with German side RB Leipzig advancing to the quarter-finals as a result.
UEFA also terminated a sponsorship deal worth £33.5million a year with Russian energy company Gazprom, while Manchester United cancelled their £40m sponsorship deal with Russian state-owned airline Aeroflot.
The IOC recommended similar bans be introduced by all sports, with the possible exception of the Winter Paralympics due to the proximity of the Games, which begin in Beijing on Friday.
Russian domestic sport and leagues were permitted to continue.
In Formula One, Nikita Mazepin, who is the son of a billionaire oligarch with close links to Russian president Putin, was allowed to continue to drive for the Haas team but only under a neutral flag.
Yarmolenko took his support of his homeland one step further on Wednesday as he took to Instagram to slam Russian footballers for remaining silent in the wake of the violence.
He posted a video to his profile, tagging players, including Russia captain Artem Dzyuba, Atalanta's Aleksei Miranchuk and Valencia's Denis Cheryshev.
Yarmolenko also tagged former Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin, Dynamo Moscow's Arsen Zakharyan and Spartak Moscow's Zelimkhan Bakaev, among others.
He urged the Russian players to unite and 'show their balls in real life' - in reference to a leaked 2020 video, which allegedly showed Dzyuba masturbating.
'I have a question for Russian players. Guys, why are you sitting like s***heads, and not saying anything?
'In my country they’re killing people, killing wives, killing mothers, killing our children. But you saying nothing, you’ve given no comments.
‘Tell me please, what will happen if all of you together, united, show the people what is really happening in my country.
'I know a lot of you, I’m familiar with many of you and you all told me "it shouldn’t be like this", that your president is acting incorrectly.
‘So guys, you have influence over the people, show this, I am asking you, please!
'I know some of you like to show your balls on camera but now the time’s come to show your balls in real life.
'Thank you for your attention! Glory to Ukraine.'
It came as the Ukrainian capital Kyiv braced for an assault from a 40-mile long convoy of Russian tanks and armoured vehicles with the conflict likely to enter a bloody new phase.
Five people were killed in a rocket strike on the city's television tower on Tuesday and the city's mayor, former boxer Vitali Klitschko warned Russian forces were 'getting closer'.
Klitschko said that fighting is still ongoing in the cities of Bucha and Hostomel, on the outskirts of Kyiv, where a large number of destroyed Russian vehicles were pictured on Wednesday. He implored people in the city 'not to lose endurance', saying all critical infrastructure is still running and humanitarian supplies are being handed out.
'I ask everyone, for security reasons, not to go outside unnecessarily. At the alarm - go to the shelters,' he said. 'The enemy is gathering forces closer to the capital... We are preparing and will defend Kyiv!'
Images showed areas of the city damaged in overnight strikes, as attacks resumed on Ukrainian cities elsewhere in the country - with paratroopers dropping into Kharkiv on Wednesday morning as missiles struck a university in the city having apparently missed a nearby police headquarters.