Russian club, Zenit St Petersburg have dropped Ukrainian footballer Yaroslav Rakitskyi after he uploaded an Instagram post asking that the war in his country be stopped.
Zenit became the first Russian side in action since Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine after last night’s Europa League clash with Real Betis.
Rakitskyi, a 52-cap Ukraine international, has been a regular since joining Zenit from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2019, but was left on the bench yesterday.Prior to last night, Rakitskyi had started all seven of Zenit’s European matches this season.In the wake of Russia’s invasion, Rakitskyi posted a Ukrainian flag on Instagram.
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Alongside it, he wrote the message: “I’m Ukrainian! #PeaceinUkraine #StopWar”
According to Daily Mail, the decision to drop Rakitskiy was made due to Zenit’s relationship with energy corporation Gazprom.
Gazprom are owned by the Russian government and Putin supports Zenit, with the company paying over £33 million a year to sponsor the Champions League.