Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Kristina Rihanoff has apologised for offending anyone for her tweets which were deemed insensitive amid Russian troops escalating their attacks on Ukraine.
The Russian-born dancer, 44, faced a backlash after posting a series of now-deleted tweets including one which criticised Sky News reporting that Russia had been banned from Eurovision following the invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement shared to Twitter, Rihanoff said she “made fun” of the report as she thought there was “far more important information” on that day other than the Eurovision update but clarified that she did not support “Putin, war, invasion, lost lives and politics”.
Rihanoff wrote: “I made fun of Eurovision tweet by Sky. I did think there was far more important information on that day that Eurovision. This is in any form says I was supporting what’s happening at the moment between Russia & Ukraine.
“It’s absolutely devastating for someone like me who’s grandad from Ukraine and I have Ukrainian name to my daughter – Milena.
“My best friend is also from Ukraine.
“I grew up with knowledge that we were one nation and one country.
“I’m not into politics and hate politicians because they all lie.
“Seeing the news is breaking my heart as I have Russian friends who live in Ukraine and vice versa.”
She continued: “The awful thing is that there is casualties on both sides and on both sides mums & dads will cry for their lost relatives.
“The point is that this shouldn’t ever taken place, never should have happened.
“The country leaders should have found the way a long time ago to sort this peacefully but they didn’t because war is profitable business and someone unfortunately making profit on this.
“I’m not supporting Putin, war, invasion, lost lives and politics.
“I hate it as much as a human being possibly can.
“If I offended anyone it wasn’t my intention and I’m deeply sorry.”
The dancer and choreographer clarified that she was born in Russia but left the country 22 years ago and was now an American citizen.
Rihanoff added: “So you can hate me if this will give you comfort but if I didn’t say something you wanted me to say it’s because sadly I’m powerless doing anything to help anyone in both countries and I don’t believe in useless posts which can’t help to safe lives.
“I can only hope and pray like everyone that this is over soon.
“And it’s really sad that the hate is so powerful everywhere you look at the moment.
“The whole world is burning in it.”
This comes as Russian troops draw closer to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and Vladimir Putin announcing he was putting Moscow’s nuclear forces on a “special regime of combat duty” in response to “aggressive statements” coming from Western powers.
Boris Johnson has dismissed the Russian leader’s warning, suggesting his actions were more to do with the fact that his forces were meeting with “more resistance than the Kremlin had bargained for”.