WATCH: Ukrainian MP Punches Russian Official at Summit in Turkey

Russian delegate hospitalized after attack

A fistfight broke out at a summit of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) in Türkiye’s capital Ankara on Thursday, where members of the Ukrainian delegation attempted to disrupt a meeting involving Russia.

Olga Timofeyeva, acting head of the Russian delegation, told RT that guests had been “shocked” by the actions of their Ukrainian colleagues.

While Timofeyeva was delivering a speech, several Ukrainian guests came up behind her, unfurling a large Ukrainian flag and what appeared to be a banner belonging to a Ukrainian military unit.

The group then scuffled with officials who attempted to escort them away. The session resumed after the flags had been removed.

The Ukrainians behaved “aggressively” and chanted anti-Russian slogans, Timofeyeva, chair of the Parliamentary Civic Society Committee, told RT shortly after the session. She added that members of other delegations had been “shocked by their attitude.” 

“They are using any platform to slander us, while we are using any platform to actually state our position,” the Russian official said.

When Timofeyeva was giving a live interview to TV channel Rossiya-1 later in the day, Ukrainian MP Aleksandr Marikovsky stood near her holding a Ukrainian flag. A member of the Russian delegation grabbed the flag from Marikovsky’s hands, but as the man was leaving, Marikovsky ran after him and punched him. The brief fight was broken up by Turkish officials.

Irina Kasimova, spokeswoman for the Russian Embassy in Türkiye, said that Valery Stavitsky, the secretary of the Russian delegation, had been hospitalized after the attack.

Turkish parliamentary speaker Mustafa Sentop urged all sides to respect decorum.

“Everybody can voice their views and opinions… But if we are to start holding demonstrations then these meetings will… turn into street movements,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Sabah.

David Arakhamia, head of President Vladimir Zelensky’s Servant of the People party in the Ukrainian parliament, thanked Marikovsky for “defending the honor of the Ukrainian flag and his dignified stance.” 

In December, Russia suspended the payment of fees to PABSEC and accused Ukraine of hijacking the platform for “anti-Russian demonstrations.” Timofeyeva told RT on Thursday that Moscow was being forced to reconsider its participation in the group’s events because “we are not seeing productive, constructive discussions.” 

“We understand that the platform has become very politicized,” the Russian MP said. “From being focused on the economy it was turned into a place of [political] ping-pong and mutual accusations,” Timofeyeva added. At the same time, she stressed that it was “impossible” to expel Russia from the forum because it was one of its founders.


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