As delegates from Ukraine and Russia were meeting in Ankara, Turkey last Thursday, a scuffle broke out in the hallway after a member of the Russian delegation grabbed a Ukrainian flag that was being held up for a photo-op, CBS News reported.
A video of the fistfight was initially posted on the Facebook page for Oleksandr Marikovski, one of the Ukrainians involved in the scuffle.
The incident took place as the assembled delegates were posing for a photo in the lobby of the hotel during a summit of the 13-country Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
Valery Stavitskiy, the secretary for Russian delegate Ola Timofeeva, tried to snatch the Ukrainian flag away when Marikovski grabbed for it, punching and smacking Stavitskiy in the process.
According to the Russian state news agency TASS, after the scuffle, the Russian consul brought a physician to the hotel to attend to Stavitsky.
Ukraine’s UN ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya authenticated the video footage, asking CBS News if Americans or citizens from any other nation would tolerate someone taking down their flag.
Russia’s First Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy also confirmed the video, telling CBS News that the scuffle was “an apex of the whole day” that included Ukrainian “provocations” during the meeting.
During Thursday’s summit, the Ukrainian delegation disrupted a speech by Ola Timofeeva by waving Ukrainian flags beside her as she spoke.
In a tweet on Thursday, the speaker of the Turkish parliament, Mustafa Sentop, condemned the Ukrainian parliamentary members for their “provocative and physically offensive actions” during the summit.
Thursday’s scuffle occurred just one day before Russian, Ukrainian, and Turkish officials were scheduled to meet in Istanbul to discuss extending the deal on the export of fertilizer and grain through Black Sea ports that will expire on May 18, the Associated Press reported.
The deal, initially struck last July, allows cargo ships to safely transport millions of tons of grain through the Black Sea despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.