Independent: Russian insider reveals hooligans are ‘more than Ultras’ trained in boxing and martial arts
Kim Sengupta talks to a young Russian who explains how the culprits behind the Marseille thuggery are well-trained combatants unlikely ever to face sanction, and finds that some in the country are revelling in the violence
Nikolai cannot understand why so much fuss is being made about the violence during the Euro 2016 championship. He has, he said, seen far worse. That, indeed, is the case – the young Russian had served as a “volunteer” with separatist forces in Ukraine’s bloody civil war.
Two years ago, at the towns of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, in rebel eastern Ukraine, Nikolai had claimed to me that he was there to distribute aid and help those injured in the fighting, rather than take part in combat himself. Now he insists that he is in France simply to watch the football and not to seek any trouble.
The French authorities have announced that 29 Russian supporters were being deported following the strife in Marseilles before and during the game with England. Uefa has also fined the Russian Football Federation and imposed a penalty of suspended disqualification.
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