A video of Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Marikovskyi allegedly punching an unnamed Russian representative who grabbed the Ukrainian flag out of his hands during a conference in Turkey's capital Ankara has surfaced on social media amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
According to Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu Agency, the incident reportedly occurred on Thursday during the 61st General Assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), where nations from the Black Sea region gathered to discuss ways to develop multilateral and bilateral ties on the economic, technological, and social fronts.
As of Friday morning, the video, which was shared on Twitter by Jason Jay Smart, a special correspondent for the Kyiv Post, and a political adviser, had more than 3 million views.
Additionally, Marikovskyi shared the video on his Facebook page. In a story on the event, Newsweek cited Marikovskyi's post.
“That punch truly was due to him. Tweet from lawyer Ibrahim Zeidan: “Delegate from #Russia initiates brawl at Black Sea Economic Community event in #Ankara, #Turkey, after snatching the #Ukrainian flag from MP Marikovskyi's hands.
The unidentified Russian envoy can be seen approaching Marikovskyi, who was clutching his nation's flag, during the talks. The Russian delegate yanked the flag out of Marikovskyi's hands, but the protester replied by shoving and striking the official in the face to get the flag back.
The event serves as a reminder of the heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which have been made worse by the continuing war in Eastern Ukraine being led by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since it started in February of last year, the war has now reached important cities including Kyiv, Kherson, Odesa, and Bakhmut.
Russia accuses the US of planning the Kremlin drone strike.
Moscow said on Thursday that Ukraine's sabotage on Russian soil had gained “unprecedented momentum” and that the US was behind a drone strike on the Kremlin, a claim that Washington disputed.
The day after the incident, which it said was an attempt by the Ukrainians to murder Putin, Moscow claimed that Putin was operating from the Kremlin. “Decisions about such attacks are not made in Kyiv, but in Washington,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Ukraine has denied involvement, with President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “We do not attack Moscow or Putin.”
Additionally, the US has denied any involvement.