The Ukraine star is backed by a government-backed Russian club backed by Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin is known to be a staunch supporter of Zenit St Petersberg, and the government-backed Russian club abandoned their Ukrainian star amid the ongoing war.

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Ukraine crisis: Russian flag raised in Kakhovka

It was a strange night for European football as relations with the Europa League remained normal despite the continued invasion of Europe. Ukraine of the Russian army.

The action midweek was dominated by messages and gestures on the pitch, as Ukrainian pair Roman Yaremchuk and Ruslan Malinovskyi used their goal celebrations for Benfica and Atalanta to condemn the outbreak of fighting.

Fedor Smolov was the first Russian footballer to speak out against the actions of his country’s government, and all eyes are on Zenit, a team backed by Vladimir Putin.

The Russians have a veteran Ukraine player in the back, but amid the ongoing hostilities, he was even left out of the starting lineup.

Yaroslav Rakitskiy has been excluded from Zenit’s trip to Spain



Zenit is currently at the top of the Russian leaderboard Premier LeagueYaroslav Rakitsky, 32, has been an integral part of their defence since moving from Ukrainian giants Shakhtar.

Defender has played in all six Champions League group stage matches for Zenit, and even played in the first leg against Real Betis last week, but the Ukraine international was eliminated during a trip to Spain on Thursday.

It is well known that Zenit is Putin’s football team, and that the club is largely owned by Gazprom, which is owned by the Russian government.

Putin has even called up Zenit in the past because there aren’t enough Russian players in their ranks, and that must have been a pretty scary time for Rakitsky since he’s the only member of the team to have his roots in Russia. Ukraine.

Putin has previously called for many Russian players to play for Zenit



Zenit’s home ground is supposed to host this season’s Champions League final, but amid the ongoing crisis, UEFA has convened an emergency meeting to determine if the venue should be changed. and they have also been cornered with their sponsors.

Gazprom sponsored the Champions League, but due to the involvement of the Russian government, Schalke dropped them as their official sponsor, and UEFA was pressured to take a similar stance.

Despite Rakitsky’s vulnerable position, he has spoken out on social media in support of his country, posting pictures of the Ukrainian flag in support of his homeland during its most difficult times.

Rakitsky posted a powerful message on Instagram

And Rakitsky has been dropped from their starting lineup, although it is yet to be confirmed exactly what the real meaning behind this decision is.

The defender has been benched as he is usually one of the first names on the team’s roster, and due to Russia’s involvement with Zenit, it is widely seen as a political decision.

The match ended in a 0-0 draw, but Zenit was left out of the competition as the first leg ended 3-2 against Betis, meaning their European dream came to an end for the season. this.

Spartak Moscow remains the only Russian team left in Europe, as they await to see who they will face in the next round of the Europa League.

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Read more The Ukraine star is backed by a government-backed Russian club backed by Vladimir Putin

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