Russian Strictly Stars Katya Jones And Luba Mushtuk Shut Down Reports Of Rift With Pros Over Ukraine Crisis

The pair also condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with Katya calling it "so wrong on all levels".
Katya Jones and Luba Mushtuk
Katya Jones and Luba Mushtuk
Karwai Tang via Getty Images

Russian Strictly Come Dancing professionals Katya Jones and Luba Mushtuk have shut down reports of a rift with their co-stars over the Ukraine crisis.

Recent reports in the tabloid press had suggested there was tension among the pros following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where fellow dancers Nikita Kuzmin and Nadiya Bychkova are originally from.

As a group of Strictly pros appeared on the BBC’s Morning Live after this year’s professional line-up was confirmed, Katya slammed the reports, and also condemned the war.

“This is obviously total nonsense, you’ve seen first hand how supportive we are all of each other always,” she told hosts Sara Davies and Gethin Jones.

“I do want to make one thing very clear. I think the invasion of Ukraine is totally wrong, it shouldn’t be happening, it must stop, and that’s why we’ve been in regular touch with Nikita, who has been very proactive in sharing ways about how to help Ukrainian people.

“You know, I personally find it really upsetting to see what these people are going through. It’s scary and it’s so wrong on all levels, but within our group I can tell you there’s nothing but love and support and we just can’t wait to come back all together again,” added Katya, who was born in Saint Petersburg.

Luba Mustuck, Katya Jones, Kai Widdrington and Karen Hauer on Morning Live
Luba Mustuck, Katya Jones, Kai Widdrington and Karen Hauer on Morning Live

Luba continued: “It has been really upsetting to see so much untruthful information, because we are only about love and respect and support of each other.

“Of course all of us are thinking about the victims and the people who are paying the consequences of this war.”

On Thursday, it was announced that joining Katya, Luba, Nadiya and Nikita on this year’s Strictly will be returning pros Giovanni Pernice, Johannes Radebe, Dianne Buswell, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Neil Jones, Gorka Marquez, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.

Also on the line-up will be Cameron Lombard and Jowita Przystal, who debuted on the show in 2021 but did not receive professional partners during the series.

Back in February, it was confirmed that two-time champion Oti Mabuse was stepping down from the show, with Aljaž Škorjanec following suit earlier this week.

Strictly will return for its landmark 20th series in the autumn, while Morning Live airs weekdays at 9.15am on BBC One.

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