Euro 2020: From PM to mayor, Ukraine ministers don football kit after win against Sweden; Check- From the Prime Minister to the mayor of Kiev, Ukrainian politicians on Wednesday swapped suits for the yellow and blue jerseys of the national football team after it advanced to the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.
In a dramatic finish late Tuesday, Ukraine beat Sweden 2-1 after extra time, matching the country’s biggest achievement at a major tournament. Ukraine last advanced to the quarter-final stage at the 2006 World Cup.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal and some two dozen ministers attending a cabinet meeting wore yellow and blue national team jerseys.
“I congratulate and thank the guys and coaches for this victory,” Shmygal said at the meeting.
“Such things motivate, unite the country, which supports our team with all its heart.”
Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko meanwhile posted a picture of himself on Instagram in a blue national team jersey and holding two thumbs up.
“Go Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes!” he wrote in an accompanying caption.
Ukraine’s kit for Euro 2020 sparked controversy earlier this month, with Moscow furious that the jersey depicted an outline of Russia-annexed Crimea.
Russia also criticised a slogan written on the inside of the shirts — “Glory to the Heroes!”
The slogan — along with “Glory to Ukraine!” — is a popular patriotic chant and became a rallying cry for pro-Western protesters who ousted a Kremlin-backed leader in 2014.
But the slogan has drawn criticism from Moscow for its association with World War II-era nationalist groups who both fought against and cooperated with the Nazis.
European football’s governing body initially approved the design, but after Russia formally complained ordered the removal of the slogan.
Moscow annexed Crimea after Ukraine’s 2014 revolution and is widely seen as having backed pro-Russia separatists in the country’s east in an ongoing conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives.