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Ukraine, Russia delegates in fisticuffs over flag

The delegates fight. (Photo: CBS)

‘Russia’s news agency TASS reported that the consul and a doctor came to the hotel to attend to Stavitsky after the incident’

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine took a different dimention during a meeting of Black Sea countries in Ankara, Turkey, on Thursday, as both countries’ delegates exchanged blows over Ukrainean flag, snatched from its holder by a Russian delegate.

The “Flag fight”, which held in the corridors of talks on Black Sea cooperation, went viral after the video was posted on the Facebook page of the Ukrainian delegate, Oleksandr Marikovski, who was also involved in the melee. 

CBS News reported that the incident took place in the lobby when the Russian delegate’s Secretary, Valery Stavitskiy, snatched away a Ukraine flag that was being held up for a photo op, and Marikovski grabbed it back, punching and slapping the Russian in the process.

“Paws off our flag, paws off Ukraine…,” Marikovski said in his post after the confrontation.

Posted by Oleksandr Marikovski on Thursday, May 4, 2023, Russia’s news agency TASS reported that the consul and a doctor came to the hotel to attend to Stavitsky after the incident.

The video was authenticated by Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.N. Sergiy Kyslytsya, who spoke to CBS News on Friday, asking if Americans or any nation would put up with the taking down of their flag.

Russia’s U.N. first Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy confirmed the video as well, and told CBS News: “It was an apex of the whole day” of what he called Ukrainian provocations during the meeting.

Earlier, members of Ukraine’s parliament hung a Ukraine flag at their table before Turkey’s parliament speaker, Mustafa Sentop, nixed it and later condemned some of the Ukrainian delegates’ “provocative and physically offensive actions.”

Both the Ukrainian and Russian U.N. Ambassadors made clear that the meeting where the fight took place was not at the talks in Istanbul, Turkey, also taking place on Friday, where the U.N., Turkey, Ukraine and Russia are meeting to try to salvage the grain deal that is up for renewal on May 18, 2023.

The scuffles came as the top United Nations trade representative, Rebeca Grynspan, arrived in Moscow to assuage Russia on its complaints about the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the U.N. confirmed to CBS News on Friday morning.

On the grain deal, U.N. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, sent letters to Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week to propose an “expansion” and “improvement” of the deal, but has not heard back on the proposal.


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