Russian Flags Spotted at Euro 2024 Match

A banner reading “Belgorod,” a city frequently targeted by Ukrainian artillery attacks, was among them.

Two Russian flags were spotted at the opening match of Euro 2024 between Germany and Scotland on Friday, according to footage from the stadium.

Germany and Scotland met at the Munich Football Arena on Friday, with the hosts winning 5-1. Euro 2024 is taking place from June 14 to July 14, with 24 teams having qualified for the tournament. Russia was banned from UEFA and FIFA events due to the Ukraine conflict.

While stadium rules don’t explicitly ban Russian or other national flags, restrictions apply to materials with a “discriminatory, racist… or politically radical” message, or those that “glorify violence” or contain “political propaganda.” However, Russian flags are not allowed in some designated fan zones as part of the tournament.

For example, Berlin authorities previously indicated that only the national flags of countries participating in Euro 2024 would be allowed in certain areas, urging attendees to “leave all other flags at home” and arguing that the championship is not the appropriate venue for other types of demonstrations, according to the newspaper Berliner Morgenpost.

Footage from Friday’s Germany versus Scotland match shows at least two Russian flags making their way into the arena. The tricolors are visible near the end of the first half in the first row, when Germany’s Kai Havertz scored a penalty against Scotland. One of the flags bore the inscription “Belgorod,” the Russian city near the border with Ukraine that has been subjected to regular deadly artillery and drone strikes by Kiev’s forces.

While it remains unclear who exactly brought the flags to the game and how they were unfurled, the Russian flag closely resembles the Serbian tricolor, which is permitted in all fan zones.

In May, Berlin police decided to ban Russian flags and other symbols associated with the country during Victory Day festivities commemorating the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, citing the Ukraine conflict. Moscow expressed outrage over the move, calling it “discriminatory” and a violation of the principle of “historical reconciliation” between the two nations.