Ukrainian Delegate Punches Russian Rep Over Flag Grab During Tense Turkey Grain Deal Talks
In a dramatic turn of events, a physical altercation broke out between Ukrainian and Russian delegates at a meeting on Black Sea cooperation in Ankara, Turkey on Thursday. The video of the scuffle was posted on the Facebook page of the Ukrainian delegate, Oleksandr Marikovski, who was involved in the melee. The video shows the Ukrainian delegate punches Russian rep over flag grab during the tense Turkey grain deal talk.
Ukrainian delegate punches Russian counterpart after he rips down flag at conference
A Ukrainian Delegate Punches Russian Rep Over Flag Grab
According to reports, the incident occurred in the lobby when a Ukraine flag was being held up for a photo opportunity, and the Russian delegate's secretary, Valery Stavitskiy, snatched it away. Marikovski then grabbed the flag back, leading to the physical altercation.
In a statement released after the confrontation, Marikovski said, "Paws off our flag, paws off Ukraine…". The video of the incident was later authenticated by Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.N., Sergiy Kyslytsya.
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Reacting to the incident, Russia's U.N. first Deputy Ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, claimed that the altercation was the "apex of the whole day" of what he called Ukrainian provocations during the meeting. He confirmed the video and spoke to CBS News about the incident.
Earlier, members of Ukraine's parliament hung a Ukraine flag at their table before Turkey's parliament speaker, Mustafa Sentop, removed it. He later condemned some of the Ukrainian delegates' "provocative and physically offensive actions."
Both the Ukrainian and Russian U.N. Ambassadors clarified that the meeting where the fight took place was not the talks in Istanbul, Turkey, where the United Nations, Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia are meeting to try to salvage a grain deal that is up for renewal on May 18.
The physical altercation comes as the top United Nations trade representative, Rebeca Grynspan, arrived in Moscow to address Russia's complaints about the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, had sent letters to Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, proposing an "expansion" and "improvement" of the deal but had not yet received a response.
The incident has garnered attention from the international community, with many criticizing the behavior of both delegates. Ukrainian officials have condemned the action, stating that it was not an appropriate response to the flag incident. The incident has highlighted the tense relationship between Ukraine and Russia, which has been strained since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
It is unclear how the incident will affect the ongoing talks between the United Nations, Turkey, Ukraine, and Russia on the grain deal. The physical altercation has raised concerns about the ability of the parties involved to engage in productive negotiations and find a solution to the issue.