Russia striker posts message about ‘war’

Dynamo Moscow forward Fedor Smolov also published a black square and a Ukraine flag on his hugely popular Instagram account

Russia and Dynamo Moscow star Fedor Smolov has posted a message reading “no war” on his Instagram account, adding a black square instead of a photo, the flag of Ukraine and an emoji depicting a broken heart in the message to his following of more than 570,000.

The post comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an operation in Donbass and Moscow.

Two-time Russian Premier League top goalscorer Smolov’s post earned more than 21,000 likes from fans within two hours.

The popular striker rejoined Dynamo, with whom he played between 2007 and 2015, in January.

Smolov had spent four seasons at rivals Lokomotiv Moscow following a prolific three-year spell at Krasnodar.

Former Celta Vigo loanee has 45 caps for Russia, scoring 16 times for his country across more than ten years.

Now 32, Smolov has scored four goals for Russia at the Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg, including one against Cyprus in 2022 World Cup Qualifying in November.

The happy hunting ground for the forward is set to host the Champions League final in May, although reports have suggested that organizers UEFA are considering changing the venue for the match.

The administrative body for European football was initially said to be pondering moving the game to another country after Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that a military operation would take place in Donbass.

UEFA has reportedly called an extraordinary meeting of its Executive Committee on Friday.

Russia and Smolov are due to host Poland in their first World Cup qualifying play-off in March.

Should they succeed, Russia will welcome the winners of the showdown between Sweden and the Czech Republic to decide who will go to Qatar.

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