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Russian Cossacks ‘to report gay World Cup visitors kissing’

Gay couples seen kissing in public by Russian Cossacks during the World Cup will be reported to police, it is being claimed.

The tournament begins in 11 cities across the country next week.

Rostov-on-Don, a southern city, will reportedly have 300 Cossack vigilantes on patrol to help the police keep the streets safe, including 100 on horseback.

The city will host four group matches and one final 16 game, although the England team will not be playing any of their games there.

“If two men are kissing each other at the World Cup, we will tip off the police, drawing their attention to it and the rest is a police matter,” Oleg Barannikov, a head coordinator of the Cossack volunteers told Radio Free Europe affiliate Current Time.

“To us, values mean the (Christian) Orthodox faith and the family come first.”

The England team training for their friendly against Costa Rica
England’s first game is against Tunisia on 18 June in Volgograd

The extreme views of some Cossacks will be a concern for some nations.

They are reported to have beaten anti-Putin demonstrators with leather whips last month.

However, local media have reported that they will not be carrying whips during the tournament.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Russia but recent legislation bans the distribution of material publicising non-heterosexual relationships.

Russia’s football union has stated it will not ban World Cup visitors from displaying rainbow pride flags.

England’s Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) has advised fans to “trust their instincts” during their visit.

“While the British embassy in Moscow is not aware of any increased difficulties for British people travelling in Russia… [fans should] remain vigilant to the possibility of anti-English or anti-British sentiment,” the FSF said.

It added that while “many perceive Russians as either reserved or unexcitable – they are in many cases actually more emotional than ‘Westerners'”.

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