China ‘set to pull coverage of this weekend’s fixtures in the Premier League’ amid Ukraine support

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China are considering pulling their TV coverage of the Premier League this weekend with the latter planning to show more support for Ukraine. 

The BBC claim China’s actions come as a result of the top-flight’s plans to demonstrate a further show of solidarity with Ukraine following the invasion of the country by Russia.

China has denounced economic sanctions that have been imposed by the UK and the EU against Russia and blamed the US and its allies for provoking Moscow.

And now they plan to show further support for Vladimir Putin’s regime by backing out of showing this weekend’s fixtures in the English top-flight. 

Captains of all 20 Premier League clubs will wear special armbands in Ukrainian colours with fans encouraged to join players, managers, match officials and club staff in a moment of reflection and solidarity before kick-off.

The large screens at grounds will display ‘Football Stands Together’ against a blue and yellow backdrop, matching the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

The words will also be shown on LED perimeter boards during games, which start with Leicester against Leeds at 12:30pm on Saturday through to Monday night’s fixture between Tottenham and Everton.

Additionally, the message of solidarity will be visible to fans around the world across Premier League digital channels. The Logos and profiles on those platforms will change to represent the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

China are considering pulling their TV coverage of the Premier League this weekend, as the latter plan to show support for Ukraine

Large screens at grounds will display 'Football Stands Together' against a blue and yellow backdrop this weekend in the English top-flight

Large screens at grounds will display ‘Football Stands Together’ against a blue and yellow backdrop this weekend in the English top-flight

Players will join together in a moment of reflection and solidarity before kick-off as well

Players will join together in a moment of reflection and solidarity before kick-off as well

China's President Xi Jinping (left) has denounced sanctions that have been imposed against Vladimir Putin's Russia

China’s President Xi Jinping (left) has denounced sanctions that have been imposed against Vladimir Putin’s Russia

HOW HAVE CHINA REACTED TO RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE?

China has denounced economic sanctions that have been imposed by the UK and the EU against Russia and blamed the US and its allies for provoking Moscow.

Moreover, an intelligence report earlier this week claimed senior Chinese officials told their Russian counterparts to delay sending troops into Ukraine until after the Winter Olympics – which Beijing hosted – had finished.

However, China also has a good relationship with Ukraine, and values stability.

In January, President Xi Jinping marked 30 years of ties with Ukraine, hailing the ‘deepening political mutual trust’ between them.

It is perhaps why in a call on Friday, Xi told Putin that China ‘respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations’ and called for negotiations to calm the crisis.

China however was among the 35 countries which abstained from voting earlier this week at a UN General Assembly for a non-binding resolution that ‘demands’ Russia ‘immediately’ withdraw from Ukraine

Explaining China’s abstention, Ambassador Zhang Jun used more emotional language than at previous U.N. meetings, citing ‘dramatic changes of the situation in Ukraine’ and calling what is unfolding ‘heart wrenching’

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He reiterated Beijing’s support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, and for the peaceful settlements of all disputes in line with the U.N. Charter

‘The top priority right now is to ease the situation on the ground as much as possible, and prevent the situation from escalating or even getting out of control,’ Zhang said.

A statement from the governing body read: ‘The Premier League and our clubs wholeheartedly reject Russia’s actions and will be showing support for the people of Ukraine at all matches this weekend.

‘We call for peace and our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted.’

Meanwhile, anti-war and Ukraine-supporting banners as well as players draping the country’s flag around them as they walked out were just some of the measures taken in last weekend’s fixtures.

Ukraine internationals Oleksandr Zinchenko and Vitaliy Mykolenko shared an emotional moment prior to Saturday’s clash between Everton and Manchester City, embracing and sharing heartfelt words between them.

As the two sides came out for the match, all of Everton’s players held a Ukrainian flag over their shoulders.

Meanwhile, City’s squad all wore shirts with the words ‘NO WAR’ across the front and back of them.

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick meanwhile held a banner which had the peace sign in the middle with the word peace in numerous languages around it before kick-off in their 0-0 draw with Watford.

The German – who was said to have been behind the idea to hold the sign – was also pictured wearing a ‘NO WAR’ badge on the touchline.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Crystal Palace displayed a banner on the big screen in Selhurst Park reading ‘WE STAND WITH UKRAINE’ alongside a picture of the Ukrainian flag before their game against Burnley.

A banner saying ‘NO WAR’ was also displayed ahead of Brighton’s match against Aston Villa, in which Matty Cash was controversially booked after celebrating his goal by displaying a t-shirt in support of a Polish team-mate caught up in the invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, love hearts surrounding the word ‘Ukraine’ were displayed on the electronic advertising in the early kick-off at Elland Road, where Tottenham thrashed Leeds 4-0. 

But this weekend’s coordinated measures will not be shown in China, who says it will ‘continue to have normal trade co-operation’ with Russia despite the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.

China, worried about American power in Asia, has increasingly aligned its foreign policy with Russia to challenge the West.

Moreover, an intelligence report earlier this week claimed senior Chinese officials told their Russian counterparts to delay sending troops into Ukraine until after the Winter Olympics – which Beijing hosted – had finished.

Ralf Rangnick's idea of holding a 'peace' sign was one of the notable shows of solidarity last weekend

Ralf Rangnick’s idea of holding a ‘peace’ sign was one of the notable shows of solidarity last weekend

Ukraine stars Oleksandr Zinchenko (L) and Vitaliy Mykolenko (R) shared a moment before Man City and Everton's game

Ukraine stars Oleksandr Zinchenko (L) and Vitaliy Mykolenko (R) shared a moment before Man City and Everton’s game

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Zinchenko was reduced to tears before kick-off in heartfelt moment following invasion

Zinchenko was reduced to tears before kick-off in heartfelt moment following invasion

The Times said the intelligence report indicated senior Chinese officials had some level of knowledge about Russia’s plans or intentions to invade Ukraine before Moscow launched the brutal operation last week.

However, China also has a good relationship with Ukraine, and values stability.

In January, President Xi Jinping marked 30 years of ties with Ukraine, hailing the ‘deepening political mutual trust’ between them.

Ukraine is a hub in the Belt and Road Initiative, a sprawling infrastructure and diplomatic undertaking that binds China closer with Europe.

It is perhaps why in a call on Friday, Xi told Putin that China ‘respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations’ and called for negotiations to calm the crisis.

China however was among the 35 countries which abstained from voting earlier this week at a UN General Assembly for a non-binding resolution that ‘demands’ Russia ‘immediately’ withdraw from Ukraine.

A report claims senior Chinese officials told their Russian counterparts to delay sending troops into Ukraine until after the Winter Olympics

A report claims senior Chinese officials told their Russian counterparts to delay sending troops into Ukraine until after the Winter Olympics

Messages similar to the 'We Stand With Ukraine' one at Crystal Palace were also common

Messages similar to the ‘We Stand With Ukraine’ one at Crystal Palace were also common

And there is as yet no telling indication that a cessation of hostilities is imminent, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson accusing Russia of ‘threatening the security of the whole of Europe’ after Putin’s troops attacked the continent’s largest nuclear power plant overnight.

It sparked a fire that raged for hours before emergency crews were eventually allowed to extinguish it as Russian soldiers seized the complex.

Mr Johnson condemned the attack as ‘reckless’ after a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky who branded it ‘nuclear terrorism’. Jens Stoltenberg, who is in Brussels today to meet with NATO allies, denounced attacks on all civilian infrastructure and said the fire at the plant underlined the need to end Putin’s war as soon as possible.

Russian troops had attacked the Zaporizhzhia plant in the early hours of Friday, with CCTV capturing a fierce gun battle between Putin’s men and Ukrainian defenders that sparked a fire in a six-storey training building just outside the main complex. Moscow’s men then stopped firefighters getting to the building for several hours.

However, China also has a good relationship with Volodymyr Zelensky's Ukraine

However, China also has a good relationship with Volodymyr Zelensky’s Ukraine

Eventually, emergency crews were allowed to go in and douse the flames before Russian troops moved in an occupied the site, which provides a fifth of Ukraine’s electricity. The UN’s nuclear monitoring agency said that, fortunately, none of the site’s six reactors had been directly damaged and radiation levels remained normal. Three Ukrainian troops were killed defending the complex, Kyiv said.

Moscow has, predictably, attempted to deny responsibility for the attack, saying its forces had come under attack by Ukrainian ‘saboteurs’ while patrolling the plant, who then set fire to the building themselves.

Russia’s war against Ukraine is now entering its ninth day and shows no sign of stopping any time soon after talks between the two sides yesterday broke up without agreement.

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Putin then went on TV to declare that he would keep battling for ‘total victory’ whilst spouting propaganda that Russia’s forces are not deliberately targeting civilians and that the ‘special operation’ is proceeding on time with all of its major objectives completed to schedule.

Ukraine war: The latest 

  • Fire at Europe’s biggest nuclear power station at Zaporizhzhia is put out after Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘nuclear terror’ in shelling the plant. Russian troops later take the reactors 
  • Diplomats from NATO, the EU and G7 will all meet in Europe today to discuss next moves to contain crisis 
  • Russia admits ‘limiting’ access to news websites including the BBC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, independent Russian site Meduza and Germany’s Deutsche Welle, with Facebook blocked
  • Russian lawmakers approve legislation providing up to 15 years in jail for any publication of fake news about the Russian armed forces
  • Thirty-three people are killed as Russian forces hit residential areas, including schools, in the northern city of Chernihiv
  • Russia and Ukraine agree to create humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from cities
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow’s advance is going ‘according to plan’
  • Senior US Republican senator Lindsey Graham calls for ‘somebody in Russia’ to assassinate Putin
  • Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky calls for direct talks with Putin as the ‘only way to stop the war’
  • Russian forces take the Black Sea port of Kherson as it appears Moscow is trying to cut Ukraine’s access to the sea
  • US and EU offer temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees so far numbering more than 1million
  • Russians pack trains out of the country to Finland, fearful that it is their last chance to escape the impact of swingeing Western sanctions
  • Sanctioned Russian oil giant Lukoil calls for a halt to fighting in Ukraine, one of the first major domestic firms to speak out 
  • Russian tech giant Yandex warns it may default on its debt after it was suspended from trading on New York’s digital stock exchange
  • The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank suspends business with Russia and Belarus in a sign of their deepening pariah status
  • Ex-Soviet states Georgia and Moldova – which borders Ukraine’s threatened south – apply to join the EU
  • The Beijing Winter Paralympics opens with Russian athletes banned

 



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