An outraged Ukraine on Tuesday hit back at the British media, current and former footballers for urging fans to stay away from next month's Euro 2012 tournament over fears of racism and violence in the ex-Soviet state.
The foreign ministry in Kiev accused England of inventing the term "skinheads" and said it had also witnessed attacks on ethnic minorities, after the BBC claimed in a documentary that far-right gangs were rife in Polish and Ukrainian football.
The angry response suggested a growing frustration with how the tournament is turning out for a country that had hoped to use it as a glittering showcase of its post-Soviet development.
Ukraine is already facing a potential boycott by top European Union leaders over the alleged mistreatment of the opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is in jail on what critics say are trumped-up corruption charges.
"To accuse Ukraine of being fascist and racist -- and to do it in the tone in which it is being done by the British media, some British footballers and individual British politicians -- is simply disgraceful," said ministry spokesman Oleg Voloshyn.
"This is not the first time that countries such as Ukraine, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic are accused by Western Europe of failing to live up to some sort of standards of respect for ethnic, sexual and other minorities.
"In terms of racism, a part of the European Union is way ahead of Ukraine.
"We do not have inter-ethnic violence on our streets -- something that happened a few years ago in Paris or which happened in London itself last year," he added, referring to the rioting that rocked the British capital.
His comments come after ex-England captain Sol Campbell, who is black, warned fans to "stay home, watch it (the tournament) on TV... don't even risk it" after viewing footage of Polish and Ukrainian fans making Nazi salutes and monkey chants.
The Panorama documentary, aired on Monday, also uncovered anti-Semitism and a serious assault on a group of Asian students.
In Poland, organisers PL.2012 said the warnings were unfair and had "nothing to do with reality", adding that instances of xenophobia and racism in stadiums were "a problem specific to the whole of Europe and not only to Poland".
The Polish foreign ministry meanwhile said that it will ask the BBC for a correction for broadcasting "unjust opinions that it will be dangerous in Poland during the Euro 2012 championship".
In Ukraine, Euro 2012 organising committee chief Markiyan Lubyivskyi admitted they were "hurt" and baffled by the claims, although Campbell was entitled to his view but urged more balanced reporting.
A BBC spokesman said they had filmed openly at a number of matches "and at every one recorded incidents of racism and/or violence including the vicious assault on Asian students at a stadium in Ukraine which will host Euro 2012 games".
He added: "It was in the public interest to highlight the behaviour of some Polish and Ukrainian football supporters ahead of the championships, given UEFA's publicly stated policy of zero tolerance to racism."
The families of two black England players -- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott -- have said they would not risk going to Ukraine to watch England's matches following public warnings from the British government.
The foreign ministries of Denmark and France have also issued similar advice to visitors about the risk of racist attacks.
In an apparent bid to pre-empt football-related violence, police in Poland on Monday arrested 42 people -- including prominent members of football hooligan gangs -- suspected of being involved in drug trafficking and extortion.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain two decades ago, the far-right has found fertile ground among fan gangs in Eastern Europe's football stadiums.
Monitors from the UEFA-backed Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network have recorded dozens of shocking far-right slogans at Ukrainian league matches and plan to deploy at Euro 2012 games.
But they said that the Euro 2012 spotlight has helped tackle the issue.
UEFA said it was confident that Ukraine can ensure the safety of the 800,000 foreign fans expected at the tournament, which kicks off on June 8.