Pussy Riot claim responsibility for World Cup final pitch invasion

A pitch invader runs past France's forward Kylian Mbappe during the World Cup final. Picture: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images
A pitch invader runs past France's forward Kylian Mbappe during the World Cup final. Picture: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images
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Protest group Pussy Riot, long a thorn in Vladimir Putin’s side, claimed responsibility for four people who brought the World Cup final to a brief halt by running on to the field dressed in police uniforms as the Russian president and a global audience watched.

Stewards tackled the three women and one man who charged on to the field in the 52nd minute of one of the world’s most viewed sporting events. Croatia defender Dejan Lovren pushed the man, helping a steward to detain him.

Before being hauled away, one of the women reached the centre circle and shared a double high-five with France forward Kylian Mbappe.

“Hello everyone from the Luzhniki field, it’s great here,” the heavily political punk performance group said on Twitter, and released a statement calling for the freeing of political prisoners, an end to “illegal arrests” of protesters and to “allow political competition” in Russia.

The statement also referenced the case of Oleg Sentsov, a vocal opponent of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, who was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years for conspiracy to commit terror acts. He denies the charges and has been on a hunger strike since mid-May.

The protest was briefly shown on international TV broadcasts.