Russian foreign minister: Our fans were provoked by outrageous English insults

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said his country’s football fans were provoked into violence by English supporters at the Euro 2016 tournament in France. “We cannot close our eyes to the absolutely provocative actions by supporters from other countries,” Mr Lavrov told parliament on Wednesday. They reacted to insults being shouted at them and seeing the Russian flag being stamped as violence erupted ahead of the teams’ encounter in Marseille on Saturday. He also complained about the arrest of a group of 43 Russians fans on Tuesday saying the French authorities failed to follow diplomatic protocol over the incident.

You have probably seen the outrageous images on TV when the Russian flag is getting stamped on and when insults are being screamed about the Russian (political) leadership and about leading Russian sports people.

Sergei Lavrov

Russia was given a suspended disqualification from the tournament following Saturday’s ugly scenes in which English fans were attacked inside the stadium after the 1-1 game. Mr Lavrov’s remarks came after Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said could not rule out a repeat of the violence because Russian fans were constantly being provoked. Meanwhile, thousands of police were on standby in Lille on Wednesday as thousands of English and Russian fans poured into the city ahead of their next games. The authorities hope to prevent the violence by imposing a city-wide ban on alcohol until after the games.

We hope for a fair treatment during investigation into all excesses, with equal attention given to all the parties who might have been involved

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov