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Ukrainian ambassador says Fenerbahçe fans’ pro-Putin chants ‘very saddening’

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Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar has said it was very saddening to hear Fenerbahçe football club fans chanting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name during a Champions League match against Dynamo Kyiv in İstanbul on Wednesday evening, Turkish media outlets reported.

Fenerbahçe and Dynamo Kyiv played a Champions League qualifying match that the Ukrainians won 2-1 after drawing 0-0 in the home leg played in Poland because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began late in February.

Images on social media showed a group of Fenerbahçe’s fans in the packed stadium chanting the Russian president’s name in response to Dynamo’s first goal against Fenerbahçe.

“Football is a fair game. Yesterday Dynamo Kyiv was stronger,” Ambassador Bodnar tweeted in Turkish. “It is very saddening 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.”


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

At the end of the match, the Ukrainians progressed to the third qualifying round while Fenerbahçe was knocked out.

In the meantime, UEFA said on Thursday that it will start a disciplinary investigation against Fenerbahçe over a group of its fans chanting Russian President Putin’s name after conceding a goal during Wednesday’s match.

Turkey has tried to stay neutral in the conflict despite its membership in the NATO defense alliance. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Putin for the first time since Russia’s invasion in Tehran last week. He is due to meet with the Russian leader again at his Black Sea resort retreat in Sochi on August 5.

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