Manchester City’s Ukrainian star Oleksandr Zinchenko has attacked Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying he hopes the ruler ‘dies a painful death’ in a fiery social media post in light of Russia’s invasion of his homeland.
Zinchenko, 25, also released a patriotic statement earlier in the week, calling for solidarity among his compatriots.
Russia have launched a military assault on Ukraine, with reports of missile strikes in major cities.
Despite warnings from Western leaders, Russian President Putin claims that Moscow will mount an ‘instant response’ if others try to step in.
Leading figures from the United States, European Union and United Kingdom have strongly condemned the move, while US President Joe Biden claims that Russia will be held to account.
Thousands appear to be trying to flee from Ukraine as the death toll reportedly rises.
Zinchenko and Andriy Shevchenko, two of Ukraine’s highest-profile sports stars, have both spoken against Putin this week.
But the Man City star unleashed more social media anger on Thursday, posting a picture of Putin accompanied by the caption: “I hope you die the most painful suffering death, creature.”
Having only been up for a few minutes, the post was promptly taken down.
According to The Daily Mail, Zinchenko claims that Instagram themselves took down the post.
Zinchenko was an unused substitute last time City took to the field against Tottenham, with the north London side running out surprise 3-2 winners.
It remains to be seen whether boss Pep Guardiola will include him in the Sky Blues’ first-team plans as they gear up to face Everton on Saturday.