07:35 GMT22 January 2021
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    Russia cannot ignore provocative actions by British fans at Euro 2016, trampling on Russian flag, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The behavior of some Russian football fans at the Euro 2016 was unacceptable but it's not right to ignore the fact that many were provoked, the Russian foreign minister stressed.

    "We can not ignore the absolutely provocative actions of [football] fans from other countries. You have probably seen the outrageous footage on television, where Russian flag is being trampled, when insults against the Russian government, against the leading Russian sportsmen are being chanted," Lavrov said.

    Earlier on Saturday, the Russian national football team played in a draw with the team of England at the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament in France. Following the match, about 30 Russian fans entered the area with England's fans, having broken through a security cordon. The clashes began and the security forces had to separate the groups of fans.

    "I believe that it is unacceptable to behave in the way, like some of our citizens who had come with fires, with some crackers, did. It is strictly forbidden, and we even know that it is completely rejected at Russian championships, where fans like that try to spoil a holiday for people," Lavrov said.

    On Tuesday, English and Welsh fans clashed with Russian fans in Lille, forcing French police to intervene with pepper spray and detained several individuals.

    French police also blocked Russian football supporters in a bus on their way to the French northern city of Lille without sending any notifications to Russian diplomats. Moscow considers this  unacceptable, according to the foreign minister.

    "It was an absolutely unacceptable incident, when a bus with more than forty Russian fans was stopped by police. They demanded that they got off the bus to check the documents, personal identification," Lavrov said.

    The Russian foreign minister sent a note to the French counterparts, calling on them to avoid incidents like with blocking of a bus carrying Russian football fans in France.

    "It is a fact that the French behaved in defiance of all the obligations under the Vienna Convention, I have already sent a relevant verbal message to the French Foreign Minister urging to prevent such violations," Lavrov said.

    The foreign minister stressed that the French authorities had to send a notification to the Russian Embassy or consulate right away, but instead Moscow learnt about the incident from posts by the blocked fans in social networks.

    UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body decided to hand the Russian Football Union (RFU) a 150,000-euro ($168,000) fine, on Tuesday, and a suspended disqualification following the Marseille clashes.

    The French city of Lille is due to host a Russia-Slovakia football match later on Wednesday within the framework of the UEFA Euro 2016.


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