Serbian Fans Chant for Putin at Euro 2024

Serbia, a nation in the Balkans that has resisted EU pressure to sanction Russia, has been the subject of recent controversy at the Euro 2024 football tournament in Germany.

A video circulating on social media shows Serbian fans in Gelsenkirchen chanting “Vladimir Putin!” and waving Russian, Serbian, and Republika Srpska flags. This incident follows UEFA’s disapproval of Russian flags displayed at previous games, including the Ukraine-Romania match. Despite national flags being permitted, UEFA has specifically requested fans to refrain from displaying other flags. German authorities have been on high alert for Russian, Israeli, and Palestinian flags in particular.

The Russian national team was barred from UEFA competitions in February 2022 following the commencement of the Ukraine conflict. However, the ban hasn’t stopped Albanian fans from displaying flags representing “Greater Albania,” an entity aiming to annex parts of Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Greece. A fan was spotted wearing the uniform of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), while others waved KLA flags. The KLA fought against Serbia in 1999 with NATO’s support. UEFA has launched an investigation into the Albanian association for “provocative images,” unauthorized pyrotechnics, and a pitch invasion.

There have also been accusations that ethnic Albanians played a role in a brawl between England and Serbia fans in Gelsenkirchen, resulting in arrests and the deployment of riot police. A Czech soccer hooligan account posted photos of Serbian ultras carrying four captured English banners following the altercation.

The Euro 2024 championship kicked off on June 14 and will conclude on July 14.