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Vladimir Putin: “How can 200 Russians beat up thousands of England fans?”

It’s perhaps unsurprising that Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to defend the shocking violence from Russian hooligans across France.

From receiving a suspended disqualification from the tournament to setting off flares against Slovakia to attacking Spanish tourists in Cologne, Euro 2016 has been appalling from the Russian perspective.

And despite calling the attacks on English fans a ‘disgrace’, Putin seemingly tried to suggest the attacks in Marseille and Lille weren’t all the fault of the Russians.

Speaking at the country’s annual economic forum in Saint Petersburg, he said: “I truly don’t understand how 200 of our fans could beat up several thousand English,” with Sky News adding the audience applauded and laughed at the question.

He added: “In any case, the treatment by law enforcement should be the same for all violators.

“I hope that there are sober-minded people among them who really love sport and understand that any violation is not supporting their favourite team but damaging to the team and to sport.”

This week three Russian fans were jailed for two years by a French court for their part in the violence, with 20 ultras also deported from the country.

Just a reminder that they’re hosting the 2018 World Cup.

VIDEO: Russia hooliganism is nothing new…