Igor Denisov says he could be ‘imprisoned or killed for these words.’
The former captain of Russia’s national football team, Igor Denisov, has spoken out against his country’s brutal war on Ukraine.
In an interview published Wednesday, Denisov said “these events are a disaster. Complete horror. I don’t know, maybe I’ll be imprisoned or killed for these words, but I am speaking as it is.”
Denisov added that he had sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that he was ready to “kneel” before him to stop the war, adding that he no longer had any pride.
Denisov is the latest — and most high-profile — Russian athlete to appeal for peace in Ukraine. Top 10 tennis player Andrey Rublev wrote “no war please” at the end of a match shortly after the invasion began in February.
Denisov was the captain of Russia’s national team from 2012 to 2016 and scored in the 2008 UEFA Cup final for Zenit St. Petersburg.
Domestic critics in Russia know they face jail sentences for denouncing the war in Ukraine, after the Russian parliament passed a law imposing jail terms of up to 15 years for anyone spreading “fake news” or carrying out any public action that would discredit Russia’s military action.