ANKARA: A Ukrainian delegate punched a Russian delegate in the face during a gathering of Black Sea nations in the Turkish capital on Thursday, after his Ukrainian flag was snatched away to stop him photobombing a video interview with Russia’s lead delegate.
Olesandr Marikovski posted a video of himself thumping the Russian and retrieving the blue and yellow flag on his Facebook page. The incident took place in a hallway of the parliament building, where the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) assembly was being held.
Earlier in the day, some Ukrainian delegates scuffled with security officers who had tried to pull them away as they staged a protest, shouting and holding their flags next to Russia’s lead delegate as she tried to address the assembly.
Pictures of the disturbance were posted by the Turkish parliament on its website, and Mustafa Sentop, the parliament’s head, issued a stiff rebuke.
“I condemn this behaviour that disrupts the peaceful environment that Turkey is trying to establish,” he said.
While representatives from the 13 countries in the BSEC met on Thursday, Russian drones continued to attack the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. There are currently no peace talks to end the war, which has devastated Ukrainian towns and cities, killed thousands of people and driven millions from their homes.