Former Russia captain Denisov risks life with critical Ukraine war statement

Igor Denisov RussiaGetty Images

Former Russia national team captain Igor Denisov has criticised his nation's invasion of Ukraine while admitting his comments could put his life in jeopardy.

Denisov called the war a "disaster" in remarks that risk jail time of up to 15 years under newly passed legislation that bans citizens denouncing the conflict.

The 38-year-old, who was outspoken throughout his playing career, says he wants to speak the truth about the "complete horror" inflicted in Ukraine.

What did Denisov say about the Russia-Ukraine conflict?

“These events are a disaster," he told Nobel. "Complete horror. I don’t know, maybe I’ll be imprisoned or killed for these words, but I am speaking as it is.”

Denisov added that he felt no pride in his nation right now and had written to President Vladimir Putin asking to stop the war, which has gone on since late February.

Denisov's playing career

Denisov was a key figure for Russia from 2008 to 2016, amassing 54 caps including a spell as captain.

At club level, he spent every season in the Russian Premier League, leading Zenit into European competitions on multiple occasions.

Football and Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Russia have been banned from international competition as a result of their invasion of Ukraine, and their clubs have been removed from European tournaments.

Former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch, was forced to sell the club by the UK government.

Many European players have spoken out against the war over the past few months and staged demonstrations before matches.

Ukraine postponed their World Cup qualifying play-off match against Wales from March to June 5, losing 1-0.

"Every one of us gave everything today, we left everything on the pitch," Oleksandr Zinchenko told reporters after falling short of Qatar. "In general I don't think we deserved to lose, but that's football, it happens."

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