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London Embassy Hits Back at Claims of Russian Ultras Attacking Liverpool Fans in Kiev

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

Russian diplomats have hit back at a British tabloid for accusing Russian football hooligans of brutally attacking Liverpool FC fans in the Ukrainian capital over the weekend.

The Daily Mirror tabloid raised concerns Saturday that “Russian football ultra thugs” had been behind a "warm-up" attack on English fans ahead of the UEFA Champions League final. The tabloid cited evidence showing one of the attackers wearing a Russian-language T-shirt and said that another was reportedly heard speaking Russian to a local police officer.

The Russian Embassy in London derided The Daily Mirror’s report as “ignorance or conscious fake news.”

“[Russian] males of conscription age are not let in by Ukraine border force, and Russian is the most spoken language in Kiev,” the Russian Embassy in London tweeted Sunday.

British tabloids have regularly warned fans of Russian hooligans at the June 14-July 15 soccer championship. Simmering political tensions have led the British and U.S. authorities to advise their nationals to “think twice” before traveling to Russia or remain vigilant and “avoid commenting publicly on political developments.”

The Daily Mirror acknowledged that the Ukrainian capital had its own ultra groups, but suggested that Russian nationals may be suspected because Kiev police addressed those arrested in Russian instead of Ukrainian.

A local CSKA Kiev fan group later claimed responsibility for the assault on social media.

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