A video posted to Twitter on Thursday showed a Ukrainian MP punching a Russian representative who snagged the Ukrainian flag from his hands during a conference in Turkey.
The incident happened on Thursday during the 61st General Assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) held in Turkey’s capital Ankara where countries of the Black Sea region gathered to discuss ways to develop multilateral and bilateral relations on the economic, technological, and social fronts, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu Agency reported.
Jason Jay Smart, a special correspondent for the Kyiv Post and a political adviser, posted the video on Twitter, which gained over 700,000 views as of Thursday afternoon. The clip showed a Russian representative, who hasn’t been named, approach Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Marikovskyi, who was holding his country’s flag. The Russian delegate then forcibly took the flag out of the MP’s hands and turned away only to find Marikovskyi pushing and punching him in the face as he took the flag back.
Tensions between the Russians and Ukrainians rose at the summit amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in the Eastern European country which has extended to major cities such as Kyiv, Kherson, Odesa, and Bakhmut since it began last February.
Marikovskyi also posted the clip on his Facebook account and wrote what was translated from the Ukrainian language, “Paws off our flag, paws off Ukraine, Russian filth!” The Daily Beast also reported about the incident, citing Marikovskyi’s post.
“He really deserved that punch. Delegate from #Russia sparks scuffle at Black Sea Economic Community event in #Ankara, #Turkey, after forcibly taking the flag of #Ukraine from MP Marikovskyi’s hands,” tweeted advocate Ibrahim Zeidan.
A similar physical altercation happened during the summit when Ola Timofeeva, a member of the State Duma from the United Russia party was giving a speech, Anadolu Agency reported. The dispute happened between Russian representatives and Ukrainian delegates after Kyiv’s delegates tried to unfurl flags behind her back.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian news agency Pravda reported that Timofeeva had St. George’s ribbon, a symbol of Russian aggression, pinned on her jacket.
Ukraine is currently preparing for an expected spring counteroffensive, which the West, including the United States, has been helping the war-torn country get ready for by providing advanced military equipment, artillery, and tanks, among other defense resources.
The Eastern European country plans to take back its territories that have been occupied by Russian forces, who have built thousands of new defensive positions in strategic areas as they anticipate the attacks.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said last week that preparations for the counteroffensive are in their final stages, adding that Ukrainian troops are being trained to use the weapons and military equipment sent by Western allies.
“The preparations are coming to an end, as in addition to weapons and military equipment, there must be training for our military personnel in how to use them. We have received state-of-the-art systems,” the defense minister told reporters.
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