A physical altercation broke out at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) in Turkey after a member of the Russian delegation pulled down a Ukrainian flag. The incident occurred when Ukrainian MP Oleksandr Marikovski unfurled his national flag behind a member of the Russian delegation, Olga Timofeeva, during an interview.
Valery Stavitsky, another member of the Russian team, then pulled the flag from Marikovski’s hands. This led to a physical altercation between the two men, with Marikovski pushing and hitting Stavitsky as he tried to wrestle the flag back.
The Ukrainian delegation had earlier unfurled their flag behind Timofeeva while she spoke at the conference. The incident is part of the ongoing dispute between the two countries over grain shipments, with a Russian blockade of Black Sea ports hindering Ukraine's important exports of wheat since the outbreak of war last year.
The Black Sea Pact
Last year, a deal was struck to resolve the dispute between Ukraine and Russia over the grain shipments. However, Russia has a list of demands that it wants to be met to continue with the Black Sea pact. The United Nations has said that the Black Sea Pact helps tackle a global food crisis aggravated by Moscow's war in Ukraine.
Stavitsky reportedly taken to hospital
Marikovski later posted the video of the incident on his Facebook page, while media reports suggest that Stavitsky was taken to hospital for a check-up. The incident highlights the ongoing tensions between the two countries, which have been locked in a bitter conflict since Russia waged a war against Ukraine last year.