Russian punk band Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

The Russian punk band Pussy Riot has claimed responsibility for a pitch invasion during the World Cup soccer final in Moscow Sunday.

Political musicians say they disrupted final match between France and Croatia in Moscow

Stewards pull a woman off the pitch after she stormed onto the field and interrupted the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday. Russian band Pussy Riot has claimed responsibility for the disruption. (Martin Meissner/The Associated Press)

Russian protest group Pussy Riot has claimed responsibility for four people who ran onto the field and disrupted the World Cup final in Moscow.

The punk band says in a statement posted on their Twitter feed Sunday that the disruption was a protest.

Four people charged onto the field in the 52nd minute simultaneously in what appeared to be old-fashioned police uniforms. They were tackled to the ground by stewards, but not before one shared a high five with a French player in the centre circle.

Pussy Riot members posted on social media that their pitch invasion was a form of protest. (Francisco Seco/The Associated Press)

Pussy Riot issued a list of demands to the Russian government on Twitter including to free political prisoners, end "illegal arrests at protests" and to "allow political competition in the country."

Their statement also referenced the case of Oleg Sentsov, a vocal opponent of Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, who was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years for conspiracy to commit terror acts. He denies the charges and has been on a hunger strike since mid-May.

The balaclava-clad women of Pussy Riot rose to global prominence with their daring outdoor performances critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2012 that sent two members to prison for nearly two years.

Putin was watching the game alongside his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The protest was briefly shown on international TV broadcasts, even though FIFA policy is usually to cut away from field invasions.