All Ukrainians have been shocked by how ready the media has been to label the Ukrainian people as racist on the basis of the actions of an unrepresentative and abhorrent minority.

AUGB published a statement yesterday and a number of our community organisations signed a letter to the Times, which unfortunately was not published. After over 600 news stories in the last few days about racism and the fear of racism in Ukraine, we are saddened that so little air and media space has been given to those who represent the real face of Ukraine - tolerant, friendly and welcoming. The text of the joint letter to the Editor of the Times follows:


We were saddened to read your article “Ukrainian racism more than relative problem” (Tony Evans, Times, May 28th 2012) and also see the Panorama programme, which the author makes reference to, screened on BBC One on Monday evening, which featured disturbing images of mindless and deplorable intolerance and extremism on the stands of football stadiums in Poland and Ukraine ahead of Euro 2012. We unequivocally condemn the actions of an unrepresentative minority of football hooligans.


Ukrainian football fans both in Ukraine and around the world who have seen those images, were sickened by them and are very disappointed that a tiny minority of football thugs can create such an unfair negative perception of two nations hosting Europe’s greatest footballing tournament.


Sadly, every country has its extremists, but the shocking scenes on the Panorama programme do not represent the behaviour or mindset of the vast majority of Ukrainian people, who are looking forward to welcoming guests from all over the world for Euro 2012.


Ukrainians living here in the UK do not tolerate any form of racism. We ourselves often travel to Ukraine. Many of us have lived there for long periods, and seen that Ukrainians are a tolerant and welcoming people. Ukrainians are looking forward to hosting Euro 2012 and show the world the nation’s warmth and hospitality. An unrepresentative minority of hooligans cannot be allowed to spoil Europe’s biggest festival of football.


Zenko Lastowiecki, Chair, Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain


Anzhela Yevgenyeva, President, Oxford University Ukrainian Society


Martyn Chymera, Chair, UK Ukrainian Sports Supporters Club


Irina Tymczyszyn, Director, Ukrainian British City Club


Igor Hordiyevych, Co-founder, Trustee, Ukraine Charity 

Dr. Roman Cregg, Founding President, Ukrainian Medical Association of the UK

Andy Hunder, Director, Ukrainian Institute in London


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