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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Ukraine

12th June 2012

#Euro2012 in #Donetsk

UK police officers in action in Donetsk

“So, you’re an England fan?”


“Where are you from?”

“We are Russian.”

The presence of significant numbers of Russian fans wearing England team colours and apparently supporting England was one of the more unexpected elements of the visit to Donetsk by our consular team and myself in the run-up of the England’s EURO 2012 group game against France on 11 June.

Can a national team have an international following? Interesting question.

Other surprises included the holiday-camp atmosphere at the ‘Camping Park’ on the edge of Donetsk where we found large numbers of England fans camping, hiring space in pre-erected marquees, drinking beer and even swimming in a large inflatable pool.

It was good in the run-up to the game to meet England fans; to check out the preparations being made by our travelling consular team (take a bow Matthew, Billy, Vika and Alex);  and to meet up with the visiting UK police team, headed by Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt.

The UK police, as is standard at international matches, are here to work with their Ukrainian colleagues in an advisory capacity. Their uniformed patrols were a big hit with locals and visitors alike in Donetsk.

I am delighted that, on the day after the match, we have had very few reports of British fans getting into consular difficulties.

Now we’re preparing for the England-Sweden game in Kyiv on 15 June.

You can find our latest consular advice for visitors to EURO 2012 online. I shall also be tweeting impressions of the tournament and practical consular advice on my “@KyivUKAmbo” twitter account – see #Euro2012, #englandfans and #Kyiv.

Matthew and Vika monitor latest developments, 11 June, Donetsk

7 comments on “#Euro2012 in #Donetsk

  1. Duncan,

    Leigh did not mention in the blog if he had actually attended the match. But he and the consular team have a responsibility towards our countrymen out in Donetsk.

    I will stick to Kyiv.

    1. @Philip (hope your well) Anyhow, he is for the Ukraine game right now in Donetsk. Fact. And the FCO line…. ‘No ministers will be attending group games at Euro 2012.
      We are keeping attendance at later stages of the tournament under review’. Which really means…. lets see if England are doing well, then i’ll get myself connected to things that are good, on the back of sport. Politicians, that says it all. (ALSO, taking real football supporters tickets away from real fans). Though I do know that the Ambassador is a Man U fan, so at least he’s a football fan.

  2. Correct me if i’m wrong here. Wasn’t it the policy of the British Government, that the representatives of Her Majesty’s government would be boycotting the Euro 2012 tournament ?

    1. Thanks Duncan. The FCO statement reads: “The Government fully supports England’s participation in Euro 2012. We hope this is a successful tournament for the England team, the fans and the people of Ukraine and Poland.

      No ministers will be attending group games at Euro 2012.

      We are keeping attendance at later stages of the tournament under review in the light of ministers’ busy schedules ahead of the Olympics and widespread concerns about selective justice and the rule of law in Ukraine.”

      1. Leigh Turner,how do you think,will GB government and officials attend Olympic games in Russia in 2014 if all in Russia is left like we have now? Thank you.

          1. Comparing Ukraine with Russia it is clear enough that Ukraine’s opposition is prosperous. Partly,I can understand GB and its boycotting stance towards Ukraine,but what I really cannot conceive is the way how EU and GB build their policy towards Russia. We must make mention of saying that Russia has more problems with democracy than Ukraine but receives less rude words in answer to what it does. What an explanation of that can be? Power of Russia,gas price,different point of view within EU,especially that Germany’s stance? Perhaps you heard of Monday’s searchers of Russian opposition leadears and the way they were performed(link below). How do you explain that? But I was unable,maybe you too, to hear GB’s and EU’s objections being addressed to Russian authorities. Does not it seem to you that it is the very definition of selective justice or,as you answered to me,case-by-case basis which GB and EU perform towards Ukraine? Is it democracy? The Timoshenko’s case brought me hope,as for citizen of Ukraine, that at least half of high-profile Ukraine’s politicians will be punished for their deliberate misconduct and their particular own interest in ruling by our country. Ukraine holds very shameful place in corruption perception index and this is our main problem. Timoshenko is just a hefty contributor to that index. As a citizen of Ukraine I am quite satisfied that she is in jail but not only she must be there! When she was in power she abused of office,bribed everyone judge to get she wanted,now those judges play against her. She is not angel as she was described in some EU newspapers. Beat corruption,not its consequenses. I am a bit off the trail but EU,USA and GB showed weakness in boycotting Ukraine and keeping silence on Russia. I am putting you in a most awkward position asking for answer on this message and I dont rely on full and clear but just dry answer. Thank you.

Comments are closed.

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.