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16th Jun 2022

Ex-Russia captain Igor Denisov fears for safety after slamming country’s invasion of Ukraine

Callum Boyle

Russia Igor Denisov

‘These events are catastrophic’

Former Russia captain Igor Denisov has admitted he fears he will be ‘jailed or killed’ after he publicly condemned his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russian parliament recently passed legislation which could see those who criticise Vladimir Putin’s invasion jailed for up to 15 years.

‘It’s horrific’

But that didn’t stop Denisov, who made 54 appearances for the Russian national team between 2012-2016, from publicly speaking out against the ‘catastrophic’ invasion that is still ongoing.

“These events are catastrophic,” he told Nobel.

“It’s horrific. I am not sure if I will be jailed or killed for these words, but I am speaking as it is.”

Denisov admitted that he now no longer feels pride towards his country and revealed that he had sent a personal letter to Putin urging him to stop the war.

“I even said I’m ready to kneel in front of [Putin]. Me, a proud guy,” he said. “I was ready to get down on my knees in front of him to make it all stop.”

Russia Igor Denisov

Denisov isn’t the only Russian sports star to condemn the invasion

The 38-year-old played for the likes of Lokomotiv Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg – the club that president Putin supports – during his playing days.

Denisov follows in the footstep of fellow high-profile Russian sportsman, tennis player Andrey Rublev, who publicly called for an end to the war in February after the initial invasion. Rublev wrote ‘No war please’ on a camera lens following a match in Dubai in February.

The Ukrainian government recently announced that over 10,000 fighters had died since the start of the war, with daily losses around the 100 mark.

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