Igor Denisov, the former captain of Russia’s national soccer team, said he feared being ‘jailed or killed’ as he spoke out in condemnation of his country’s war on Ukraine.
The 38-year-old became the oldest former or current athlete still living in Russia to publicly condemn the conflict.
Denisov, who captained the Russian national team from 2012 to 2016, said in an interview with a sports journalist: “These events are catastrophic. It’s horrible. I don’t know if I will be imprisoned or killed for this, but I say it as it is.
Denisov, who also scored in Zenit Saint Petersburg’s 2008 UEFA Cup final victory over Rangers, added that he had written to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to stop the war.
Russia’s parliament recently passed a law imposing prison sentences of up to 15 years for anyone who spreads “fake news” or conducts public action that discredits military action.
Tennis player Andrey Rublev writes ‘no war please’ on a camera lens at the end of a match in Dubai shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began in February .
Since the start of the invasion, the Russian national football team has been banned from competing in international competitions, while national teams have been barred from European tournaments.