Former captain of the Russian football team, Igor Denisov, has criticized Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine describing it as a ‘catastrophic.’
The Russian parliament recently passed legislation that could see dissenters against the country’s military action jailed for up to 15 years.
But Denisov, 38, a former defensive midfielder who captained the Russian team between 2012 and 2016, shunned the new legislation to criticize the ongoing brutal conflict.
‘These events are catastrophic,’ Denisov 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.’
He added that he no longer feels any pride in his country and even wrote to President Putin asking for him to halt the war, which has seen thousands killed and millions more driven from their homes.
Denisov, who played for Russian clubs Zenit Saint Petersburg, Dynamo Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow during his club career, was an influential player for the national team.
He played 54 times for Russia between 2008 and 2016, representing them at the 2012 European Championship and the 2014 World Cup.
Russia have been banned from playing in international competitions as a result of the invasion of Ukraine, with their club sides also banned from European competitions such as the Champions League.