Croatia defender Vida apologises for Ukraine comments

Croatia defender Vida apologises for Ukraine comments thumbnail
MOSCOW: Croatia defender Domagoj Vida apologised after his team’s World Cup semi-final victory over England on Wednesday after speaking out in support of Russia’s neighbour and adversary Ukraine.

Spectators at Wednesday’s match in Moscow booed and whistled the Croatia centre back, after a video posted online earlier in the week showed Vida, a former player with Ukrainian club side Dynamo Kiev, saying “Glory to Ukraine!”.

“I know I made a mistake and I would like to apologise again to Russian people,” Vida said, speaking in Russian in a live post-match interview with the Rossiya 24 state TV channel late on Wednesday.

“I’m sorry. That’s life. You have to learn from your mistakes,” he added after their 2-1 extra-time win.

Russia’s relations with Ukraine have been fraught since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and backed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday condemned the video as “not clever”.

“There is soccer, and there is politics, and the two are different things,” Zakharova told reporters, adding that the ministry had seen Vida’s apology for the incident.



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