Ukraine fans took aim at Vladimir Putin on Sunday as their country faced England at Wembley in a Euro 2024 qualifying match. The Three Lions ran out 2-0 winners courtesy of goals from Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka.
Peace time in Europe was shattered last year after Russia invaded Ukraine. And the Russian attack is continuing in the country, with tens of thousands of Ukrainians losing their life since the invasion began.
Ukraine fans made their feelings known in London as they went head-to-head with the Three Lions. According to the Daily Mail, away supporters launched paper airplanes in the colours of the Ukraine flag into the air as part of a coordinated movement in the 24th minute. They also sang songs mocking Putin and called for F-16 fighter jets to aid Ukrainian forces in the war against Russia.
Both sets of Players had held up a Ukraine flag with the word ‘Peace’ written on it ahead of the match. And every Ukraine star was draped in their national flag as they sung their national anthem.
Meanwhile, lyric sheets were given to fans to encourage them to customise England’s ‘10 German Bombers’ anthem to ‘10 Russian bombers'. And the song ended with the wording: “There were no Russian bombers, no Russian bombers, there were no Russian bombers in the air. Cos the Air Force from Ukraine, Air Force from Ukraine, Air Force from Ukraine needs F-16s to shoot them down.”
Former Chelsea player and Ukraine manager Andriy Shevchenko was part of the Channel 4 broadcasting team in north west London. And ahead of the match the 46-year-old said: “I think today is not just football, it’s a lot more. A lot more meaningful to my country.
“For me to be here today and represent my country, and I want to say thank you to all of England for incredible support, you’ve been very close to us since the war started and this means a lot for me and my country. Also I want to say thank you for the Ukrainian soldiers as well for staying on the front line and defending [our country].
“We’re so lucky they sacrifice their lives for us and the Ukrainian team today, just because there’s so many people on the front lines losing their lives to defend, they stay strong to help freedom to Ukraine. We’re mentally very strong and in difficult moments we’re united all together.”
And after the match the ex-striker added: “Honestly, it’s very important for us and for all the world that again, we remind about Ukraine. Ukrainian fans were unbelievable today to support the team also. We come here, it is such a big deal for us, thank you very much for all your support.”