Ukraine captain Andriy Yarmolenko has called for Russia’s complete and continued isolation from professional sport after UEFA confirmed the country would be left out of Euro 2024 qualification.
Speaking on the eve of Wednesday’s Nations League game against Scotland at Hampden, the striker said it should be impossible to consider seeing ‘terrorist’ Russia represented on the pitch then that his army was killing civilians in his native country.
Russia have been banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions since they launched their invasion of Ukraine in February, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejecting an appeal against the ban in July.
UEFA said on Tuesday (September 20) that the nation would be out of place in the Euro 2024 qualifying draw scheduled for Frankfurt on October 9.
Yarmolenko’s comments came as it was confirmed that Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov had been fined an undisclosed amount and warned by European football’s governing body after he vowed to take up arms against the forces of Vladimir Putin.
Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed to play a friendly against Russia in St Petersburg in November, a move that drew heavy criticism from top Bosnian players Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko.
Asked about the situation regarding Russia’s involvement in top-level sport, Yarmolenko insisted that more governing bodies should follow UEFA’s example.
“My thoughts are quite simple,” said the 32-year-old, who now plays for Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates.
“Russian football, Russian sport, should be totally isolated.”
“It’s a country of terrorists. A country that kills Ukrainians, kills Ukrainian children. We can’t just talk about sports when something so terrible happens.
“All Ukrainian players want Russia to be isolated at all levels. We cannot allow Russia to participate in any competition while its army kills the civilian population in Ukraine. The position of the Ukrainian team is therefore quite unified. Russia should be banned from anything.