Russian and Ukraine delegates separated after scuffle in Turkey
Fist fights have erupted between Ukrainian and Russian representatives at a meeting of Black Sea countries in Ankara leading to the warring delegates being forced apart. During the summit, a Russian official, Ola Timofeeva, ripped the Ukrainian flag from the hands of Oleksandr Marikovski, a Ukrainian parliamentarian, who retaliated by landing several punches to the official’s head.
In a video shared on Marikovski’s Facebook page, he can be seen pursuing the flag-grabber and briefly fighting with him in the parliament building’s hallway before being pulled away by other people.
Marikovski can be heard insisting, “It’s our flag,” adding: “We’ll battle to protect this flag.”
He later called the Russian officials “Russian filth” in a Facebook post and urged them to stay away from Ukraine and its flag.
The row took place during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, which consists of thirteen member nations.
It comes the day before Russian, Ukrainian, and Turkish officials were due to meet in Istanbul to discuss the extension of an agreement for the export of grain and fertiliser through Black Sea ports which expires on May 18.
Despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the agreement, which was first reached in July of last year, has made it possible for cargo ships to safely move millions of tonnes of food for export through the Black Sea.
The summit on Thursday began with a disturbance as Ukrainian delegates waved the yellow and blue flag of their country by Timofeeva’s side as she addressed the assembly.
Mustafa Sentop, the Turkish parliamentary speaker, condemned the “provocative and physically offensive actions of some members of the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation” in a Twitter post.
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He added: “I condemn this behavior that disrupts the environment of peace Turkey is trying to achieve.”
Meanwhile, there have been air alerts declared in the majority of Ukrainian regions, including the capital city of Kyiv.
In recent days, there has been a significant increase in the number of alerts issued after Russia claimed that Ukraine attempted to assassinate Vladimir Putin in a drone attack early Wednesday morning, which Kyiv has denied. W
ithin the past three days, Kyiv alone has issued six alerts to warn of potential Russian attacks.
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