Ukraine, Russian fans scuffle in Lviv

LVIV Sat Jun 9, 2012 7:44am EDT

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LVIV (Reuters) - Russian and Ukrainian soccer fans scuffled briefly in the streets of Lviv in the early hours of Saturday after watching a Euro 2012 game in the city's fan zone, eyewitnesses said.

Around 15 Russian fans, delighted at their side's impressive 4-1 win over the Czech Republic, left the zone and started shouting and swearing at a smaller group of Ukrainians, said Reuters photographer Marian Striltsiv.

The two sides exchanged a few punches before local police quickly moved in and separated the combatants. No arrests were made.

One picture taken by a local agency showed a man with blood streaming from his nose.

Police denied there had been any violence and said they had prevented the two sides from fighting. Tensions between the two nationalities are particularly high in Lviv, in the far west of the country, in part because of Ukrainian resentment at Soviet rule from 1939 to 1991.

The Lviv region was the centre of a resistance campaign by Ukrainian nationalists fighting for independence from the Soviet Union during and after World War Two.

One of the main nationalist leaders was Stepan Bandera, a man still widely regarded as a hero in western Ukraine and as a bandit by Russia. Fans of local soccer side Karpaty Lviv always show a huge banner of Bandera during home games.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren, editing by Justin Palmer)

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Comments (1)
Bobasa wrote:
This article misses the real reason why the Russian and Ukrainian fans probably duked it out. Tensions are running very high among Ukrainian speakers right now because of the recent adoption of the first reading of a law which is extremely anti-Ukrainian. The dictatorial and criminal Yanukovych regime are the sponsors of this law. They also happen to be Ukrainophobes and their law is an attempt to destroy the Ukrainian langauge after which it will be easier to make Ukraine a part of Russia. Russians in Ukraine are often very disrespectful towards the Ukrainian language and culture. Often, they refuse to learn and speak Ukrainian. Most of the ministers of the Yanokovych government never say a single word in Ukrainian. So, my guess is that when these Russian fans started shooting off their mouths and probably showing their disrespect towards Ukraine, it language and culture, in Ukrainian-speaking Lviv, the local Ukrainians decided not to stand for this provocation, and reacted.

Jun 09, 2012 9:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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