Former Russia captain Igor Denisov has become one of the highest-profile athletes still living in the country to speak out against the war in Ukraine.
Denisov, who earned 54 caps between 2008 and 2016, called the invasion a “catastrophe” and a “complete horror”.
The ex-midfielder made the comments in an interview with sports journalist Nobel Arustamyan published on YouTube.
“Maybe they’ll put me in jail or kill me for these words, but I’m telling it like it is,” said the 38-year-old.
Denisov, who played more than 300 games for Zenit St Petersburg before ending his playing career with Lokomotiv Moscow in 2019, said that he “loved his country” and did not want to leave Russia.
He has also written to President Vladimir Putin to express his opposition to the invasion, which started on 24 February.
“I am a proud guy. This was after three or four days,” Denisov added.
“I even said to him that I am ready to go on my knees before you so that he would stop it all.”