MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Sunday rejected a suggestion by senior British government officials it may have deliberately sanctioned violence by Russian soccer hooligans at the Euro 2016 tournament in France as anti-Russian hysteria.
It spoke out after Britain’s Observer newspaper published a report citing the unnamed British officials as saying they suspected the Kremlin may have links to the Russian hooligans who attacked England supporters in Marseille.
The clashes marred the start of the tournament and prompted the French authorities to deport some Russian supporters.
The British officials were quoted as saying that many of the Russian hooligans were in the uniformed services and that their actions looked like a continuation of President Vladimir Putin's 'hybrid warfare' against the West. [bit.ly/21sHJsYr]
“This is yet another example ... of anti-Russian hysteria,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency.
Putin, speaking at a question and answer session at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, said he wondered how “200 of our fans beat up several thousand English fans.”
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Andrew Osborn