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Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko has said he hopes Vladimir Putin has “the most painful suffering death” after the Russian president pressed forward with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
According to the Daily Mail, Ukraine international Zinchenko posted a picture of Putin to his Instagram story, alongside the caption: “I hope you die the most painful suffering death, creature.”
It has since been taken down, with Zinchenko claiming that Instagram has deleted the story.
His comments come after Russia launched a full-scale assault on Ukraine on Thursday, with troops and tanks crossing the border and military targets being bombed.
According to the BBC, at least seven people are known to have been killed in Russian attacks, while another 19 are missing.
It comes after Russia occupied the rebel-controlled regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, following a decision to recognise the territories as independent states.
Earlier this week, Zinchenko posted an image of Ukraine, including Luhansk and Donetsk, to his Instagram account, alongside the caption: "The whole civilized world is worried about the situation in my country.
"I can't stay back and strive to put my point across. In the photo - my country. The country where I was born and raised.
"A country whose colours I defend in the international sports arena. A country that we try to glorify and develop.
"A country whose borders must remain inviolable. My country belongs to Ukrainians and no one will ever be able to appropriate it.
"We will not give up! Glory to Ukraine."
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Thursday that martial law has been imposed on the whole of the country in the wake of the invasion.
"No panic. We're strong. We're ready for anything. We'll defeat everyone, because we are Ukraine," Zelensky said.
Meanwhile, western nations including the UK have begun to impose severe economic sanctions on Russia in response to the attack.
European football’s governing body, UEFA, is facing mounting pressure to move this season’s Champions League final, which is due to be hosted by Russia.
The Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg is set to stage the event on May 28 but UEFA is now drawing up plans to change the venue as the crisis in Ukraine escalates.