Russia captain Artem Dzyuba responds to criticism from Everton’s Vitaliy Mykolenko over Ukraine invasion

Russia captain Artem Dzyuba has broken his silence on the invasion of Ukraine in response to comments from Everton’s Vitaliy Mykolenko, calling the war “terrifying” while accusing his country’s critics of “double standards”.

Mykolenko addressed Dzyuba in a strongly-worded Instagram post this week, expressing his anger over the lack of response from the Russian players and suggesting they would “never be forgiven” for remaining silent over the war.

Dzyuba has since taken to Instagram himself to outline his opposition to conflict and discrimination, insisting “war is terrifying” and sport should remain clear of politics. But Manchester City’s Ukrainian defender Oleksandr Zinchenko has hit back at the Russia striker’s comments by saying “evil should be punished on all platforms”.

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“I didn’t want to comment about the events in Ukraine until the very last moment,” Dzyuba wrote on Wednesday. “I didn’t want to, not because I am afraid, but because I am not an expert in the politics, I was never involved in it and I was never going to be (contrary to many political scientists and virologists that have recently appeared on the Internet).

“But as any other person I have my own opinion. And I will voice it because I’ve been pushed to this topic from many sides.

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Oleksandr Zinchenko and Vitaliy Mykolenko embrace before Everton take on Manchester City as Goodison Park puts on a show of unity to support Ukraine

“War is terrifying. I am shocked by human aggression and hate, which is moving to a larger scale every day.

“I am against discrimination based on your nationality. I am not ashamed to be Russian. I am proud to be Russian. I don’t understand why athletes have to suffer now.

“I am against double standards. Why are some allowed everything, but we are blamed for everything? Why does everyone always say that sport is apolitical, but with the first opportunity, when it concerns Russia, this principle is absolutely forgotten?”

But Manchester City’s Zinchenko addressed Dzyuba’s claims directly, responding with: “As for your main argument ‘sport is apolitical’, indeed, sport shouldn’t be a part of an election campaign, party races, slogan promotion and a PR platform.

“However, sport, as any other part of life, cannot stand by and watch the matters of war, aggression and death. Everyone should be fighting against evil, regardless of their occupation.

“Evil should be punished on all platforms that are available to society. We will be knocking on your door with the sanctions with even more aggression than you do when you cross our borders with ammunition. Stopping the occupation is the single main aim of all our actions.”

FIFA and UEFA recently suspended Russia from all competitions in one of many sporting sanctions imposed on the country.

Motorsport UK also banned Russian and Belarusian licensed drivers from competing in the UK, while the International Paralympic Committee announced on Thursday that athletes from Russia and Belarus would not be allowed to participate at the upcoming Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, which get underway on Saturday.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenkohas has reacted to the sports sanctions against his country, claiming Russia has always believed that sport was beyond politics

The IPC’s decision comes after it initially ruled that athletes from Russia and Belarus could compete under the Paralympic flag and that they would be left off the medal table.

Their change in stance stands in line with the World Athletics Council, which banned all Russian and Belarusian athletes from World Athletics Series events, along with the International Olympic Committee, which recently urged all sports to ban athletes from Russia and Belarus from international competition.

“I repeat, war is terrifying,” added Dzyuba in his post. “In stressful situations people show their nature, which is negative sometimes. There is a lot of anger, dirt and grief pouring on all Russian people now, regardless of their position and occupation. To those thousands of people who write insults and threats – get in line!

“It is especially weird to hear all of these from people to whom Russia gave so very much in their lives. It all creates even more negativity.

“A war will be over, but human relations will remain and you won’t be able to rewind it all. Remember that.

“P.S. To some of my colleagues, who sit on their a***s in their mansions in England and say nasty things: that cannot offend us, we understand it all! Peace and kindness to everyone!”

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