A superb hat trick from Russia loose forward Sergey Gaponov was the highlight of their 52-14 victory in a first encounter with neighbours Ukraine, which opened the East section of the rugby league European Shield.
Two of his touchdowns within five minutes inside the opening quarter gave the home nation momentum after winger Vadim Fedchuck had opened the scoring, stand off Aleksander Lysokon converting all three to make it 18-0 in as many minutes.
Ukraine got on the board just after the half hour, prop Maksim Miroshnichenko powering over and Aleksander Skorbach adding the extras but, just before the break, Lysokon – who finished with 14 points – crossed and Edward Ososkov goaled, to make it 24-6 at the break.
Scrum half Andrey Bashevsky gave the Ukranians fresh hope with a try three minutes into the second half, Skorbach adding the extras but, on their next set, Russian centre Dmitry Bratko found his way to the line to break the visiting resistance.
Ososkov went over soon after, Bratko successful with the kicking duties and, on the hour, Igor Chuprin ensured a home victory.
The margin was increased in the 63rd minute when Vladimir Vlasyuk crossed and Gaponov brought up the half century with his third try as the hosts looked set to run riot.
Bashevsky toiled manfully for the Ukranians who left a good impression on their hosts, Skorbach completing the scoring with a respite penalty in the 71st minute.
Russia: Suchkov, Bulanov, Nechaev, Bratko, Fedchuk, Lysokon, Ososkov, Konstantinov, Vlasyuk, Loshilin, Nikolaev, Galimov, Gaponov. Subs: Grigoryev, Abanin, Pavlyuchenkov, Chuprin.
Tries: Fedchuk (5), Gapanov (16, 20, 66), Lysokon (39), Bratko (45), Ososkov (50), Churpin (60), Vlasyuk (63)
Goals: Lysokon 5, Ososkov 2, Bratko
Ukraine: Mashkin, Pogosha, Lyubensky, Shevtsov, Kardakov, Skorbach, Bashevsky, Lobanj, Martyrosyan, Miroshnichenko, Smoly, Troyan, Kravchenko. Subs: Litvinov, Markelov
Tries: Miroshnichenko (33), Lyubensky (43)
Goals: Skorbach 3
Men of the match: RUSSIA – Sergey Gaponov, UKRAINE – Andrey Bashevsky
Half time: 24-6
Referee: Phil Smith