Vladimir Putin says he questions how 200 Russians ‘beat up 1,000 English people’
- Mr Putin questioned how a group of Russians beat ‘thousands’ of English
- He also criticised French authorities and said troublemakers should be treated equally
- His comments come as one of his friends, Alexander Shprygin, notorious far-right leader of the Russian supporters union, was expelled from France
- Three Russians also jailed for their part in three days of rioting in Marseille
Vladimir Putin has defended the Russian ‘Ultras’ who have orchestrated violence throughout Euro 2016 by questioning how 200 Russians ‘beat up several thousand English people’.
Russia and England have both been threatened with expulsion from the tournament if fighting continues after running battles in Marseille and Lille.
In the Old Port district of Marseille prior to their opening match, English and Russian fans clashed, hurling glass bottles and chairs and drawing volleys of tear gas from riot police.
Inside the Stade Vélodrome, a group of Balaclava-clad Russian hooligans – wearing gum shields and brandishing truncheons charged at the English fans at the final whistle – leaving the terrified supporters fleeing for the exits.
There were then further violent scenes in the northern French city of Lille – albeit on a lesser scale.
Speaking today Mr Putin condoned the violence, calling it a ‘disgrace’, but added: ‘I truly don’t understand how 200 of our fans could beat up several thousand English.’
He also criticised the under-fire French authorities and said any troublemakers should be treated equally.
His comments come as one of his friends, Alexander Shprygin, the notorious far-right leader of the Russian supporters union, was expelled from France.