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Danish police investigate vandalising of Ukraine monument ahead of Denmark-Russia game

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Denmark's Joakim Maehle celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Thomas Delaney and Christian Norgaard against Russia during Euro 2020 at Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 21, 2021. Pool via REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

COPENHAGEN, June 22 (Reuters) - Danish police are investigating the defacing of a monument to Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko in Copenhagen before Monday's Euro 2020 match between Denmark and Russia.

The Ukrainian embassy on Monday posted a picture on Facebook showing the monument painted in the colours of the Russian flag.

"We strongly condemn this act of vandalism and provocation against Ukraine," the Ukrainian embassy said. "This shameful case once again demonstrates to the civilized world that Russian aggression against Ukraine is real."

Danish police confirmed it had received a report of vandalism against the Shevchenko monument and that it was investigating the incident.

Copenhagen city authorities were made aware of the vandalism on Monday afternoon and cleaned the monument within an hour, a spokesperson for the Copenhagen municipality said.

Shevchenko, a 19th century poet whose writings are considered to be the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and language, was convicted for promoting the independence of Ukraine from the Russian empire.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed after Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014 and support for separatist forces in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people. Ukraine wants the territory back.

Only a few Russian fans were present at Monday's group stage game in Copenhagen, which Denmark won 4-1.

Denmark, which has hosted Euro 2020 group games against Finland, Belgium and Russia at the Parken Stadium, has had travel curbs in place due to COVID-19, meaning fans from the three respective countries were not allowed to enter without going into quarantine.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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