Artem Dzyuba said he was against discrimination when responding to Ukrainian star Vitaliy Mykolenko’s online appeal
Russian soccer star Artem Dzuyba has broken his silence on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine which has led to an unprecedented ban on athletes from his native country, after he was accused of not commenting on the situation by the Ukrainian star of Everton Vitaly Mykolenko.
Mykolenko, who joined the Premier League side from Dynamo Kyiv in the January transfer window, criticized Dzyuba online for failing to speak out against the Russian offensive, saying the sanctions imposed on Russia would lead him to to be “locked in your dungeon for the rest of your life”.
“While you remain silent with your football teammates, peaceful civilians are being killed in Ukrainewrote Mykolenko online, addressing Dzyuba.
“You will be locked in your dungeon for the rest of your life and especially the life of your children. And I’m happy.”
Russia had been suspended indefinitely by UEFA and FIFA in the hours before Mykolenko’s statement.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian star Andriy Yarmolenko, who plays for Premier League club West Ham, referenced a sex tape episode as he told Dzyuba to “show your balls” speaking out against the conflict.
However, in his own statement, Dzyuba explained that he had been reluctant to speak out so far because he was “not a political expert” – but cited the “double standards” in the treatment of Russian athletes.
“Until now I did not want to talk about the topic of events in Ukraine,” wrote the 35-year-old Zenit St. Petersburg star.
“I didn’t want to not because I was scared, but because I’m not an expert in politics, I’ve never been involved in it and I don’t consider (unlike the large number of political scientists and virologists which have recently appeared on the Internet).
“But I, like everyone else, have my opinion. Since all parties draw me to this subject, I will express it.
“War is scary. But I am also against human aggression and hatred which take on greater proportions every day.
“I am against discrimination based on nationality. I’m not ashamed to be Russian. I am proud to be Russian. And I don’t understand why athletes should suffer now.
“I am against double standards. Why can some people do anything, but we are blamed for everything? Why is everyone always shouting about sports 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 essence, sometimes negatively. How much anger, dirt and bile has now been poured out on all Russians, regardless of position and profession. Those thousands of people who write insults and threats – get in line!
“It’s doubly strange to hear all of this from people to whom Russia has given so much in their lives. It all just creates more negativity.
“The war will end, but human relations will remain. And it will be impossible to go back. Remember this.
“PS And to some colleagues who sit on their backs in mansions in England and say nasty things: it can’t offend us, we understand everything! Peace and goodness to all!
Former Russia captain Dzyuba’s comments come just hours after it was confirmed by his club Zenit Saint Petersburg that they were canceling the contract of their Ukraine defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy by mutual consent after he had expressed a desire to leave following the Ukrainian conflict.
Russia began its military campaign last week after officially recognizing the Donbas republics. President Vladimir Putin said the operation aims to defend local people in the regions as well as “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.
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