Zenit St Petersburg drop Ukrainian star after Instagram post calling for end of Russia-Ukraine conflict

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Russian football team Zenit St Petersburg have dropped Ukraine star Yaroslav Rakitskyi after an Instagram post criticising Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 32-year-old Ukraine international took to his Instagram yesterday to call for an end to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, following the order by Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade the former Soviet Union satellite state.

The 54-cap defender posted an image of the Ukraine flag for his 82.1k followers, partnering it with the caption: “I’m Ukrainian! #PeaceinUkraine #StopWar”

Prior to yesterday’s Europa League clash, Rakitskyi has started in all of the Russian sides European games this season, which included a pair of games against Chelsea, who are owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

However, he was dropped to the bench for the game against Real Betis. The game itself ended in a 0-0 draw, meaning Zenit lost by an aggregate score of 3-2.

Other Ukraine stars have also criticised Russia’s attack, with Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko telling Putin to: “die the most painful suffering death,” as quoted by The Sun.

The situation in the Ukraine-Russia theatre is extremely delicate, and other sports such have Formula 1 have announced they will not be racing in the country following the escalation of the siutaion.

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