Turkish fans chant Putin’s name in response to Ukrainian player’s celebration

Photo: Seskim Photo/MB Media/Getty Images

Ukrainian officials have condemned Turkish football fans who chanted Russian leader Vladimir Putin's name at a Champions League match in Istanbul.

Thousands of Fenerbahce supporters joined in the chant after their team conceded a goal to Ukrainian champions Dynamo Kyiv.

Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Bodnar said the incident had “saddened” him deeply. Dynamo Kyiv won the match 2-1, following a 0-0 draw in the first leg held in Poland due to the Russian invasion.

“We will never understand the words of support for the Russian killer and aggressor who deliberately kills Ukrainians and destroys our country,” Mr Bodnar wrote on Facebook.

The chants appeared to have been sparked after Dynamo midfielder Vitaliy Buyalskyi celebrated giving his side the lead by making an eagle gesture with his hands, which some fans believed to be a nod to Fenerbahce's arch-rivals Besiktas.

Dynamo's head coach Mircea Lucescu told reporters after the game that the sport "cannot accept the behaviour of the fans".

The incident comes just weeks before the return of the top flight of Ukrainian football on August 23. The Ukrainian Premier League was abandoned after the Russian invasion in February, which made it unsafe to continue.

However, earlier this month, officials from the Ukrainian government, football association and state emergency services announced that the competition would resume within weeks.

“Holding football competitions during the war is not only about sports,” Andriy Pavelko, president of the Ukrainian FA, told reporters. “It is about demonstrating the fearlessness of our people, the indomitable spirit and desire for inevitable victory.”

The exact format of the competition is yet to be confirmed, but it is expected that games will be played behind closed doors in the Kyiv region and other cities further west.

Just two sides from last season's incomplete schedule, Desna Chernihiv and FC Mariupol, have announced that they will not be able to take part. Both sides have seen their infrastructure devastated, with Mariupol currently under Russian occupation after a protected siege.

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