A Ukrainian delegate was caught on video punching a Russian official in the face after having his country’s flag taken from him as he tried to photograph a video interview with Moscow’s chief delegate.
The incident involving Olesandr Marikovski occurred Thursday during a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization in Ankara, Turkey, according to Reuters.
The footage showed a man approaching Marikovski as he held up his Ukrainian flag behind Russian delegate Olga Timofeeva.
The man then grabbed the flag and started walking away, but Marikovski caught up with him and started swinging his fists.
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Eventually he retrieved the flag and bystanders intervened to separate the couple.
On Thursday, other Ukrainian delegates were seen engaging with security by standing with their country’s flag and protesting as Timofeeva tried to address the assembly.
The actions drew condemnation from Mustafa Sentop, president of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
“I condemn this behavior which disrupts the peaceful environment Turkey is trying to establish,” Reuters said with the quote.
The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization said on its website that it “is working together for peace, stability and prosperity in the Black Sea region”.
Its member states include Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and its neighbors, such as Romania and Moldova.
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The incidents come as Russian leaders are speculating that the United States is behind an alleged attack on President Vladimir Putin’s life.
Unconfirmed videos have been circulating online showing a drone being shot down over the Kremlin and smoke rising into Moscow.
No injuries or damage to Putin’s residence were reported. The Russian leader was seen in video and photos released Wednesday meeting with a regional governor outside Moscow.
The Kremlin says a drone attempted to assassinate Putin on Thursday, initially speculating it was an attack by Ukrainian forces.
“We know that often it is not even Kiev that determines the targets, but Washington,” Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the president of the Russian Federation, said at a briefing, according to the Moscow Times.
He continued: “It is very important that Washington understands that we know this and understands how dangerous such direct involvement in the conflict is.”
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CNN on Thursday that Peskov is “lying.”
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“There’s one word that comes to mind that I’m obviously not appropriate to use on national TV,” Kirby said when asked about his reaction.
“Obviously that’s a ridiculous statement,” Kirby continued. “The United States had nothing to do with it. We don’t even know exactly what happened here… but I can assure you that the United States had no role in it… We neither encourage nor allow Ukraine to strike outside the borders of Ukraine”.
Timothy HJ Nerozzi of Fox News contributed to this report.