The Ukrainian Delegation Hit Rock Bottom: The PACE Ethics Committee Will Investigate the Attack on a Russian Journalist

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


On the sidelines of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe the non-factional deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Borislav Bereza, who is the representative of the Ukrainian delegation in PACE, insulted and pushed the VGTRK journalist Olga Skabeeva.

The incident happened on January 24th whilst the vice speaker of the Rada Irina Gerashenko was being interviewed. The host of the “60 minutes” program on the “Russia 1” TV channel asked Gerashenko a question about the Russians who are still detained in Ukraine when Bereza pushed her and blocked her access to the vice-chairperson of the Ukrainian Parliament.

After this Skabeeva asked the Ukrainian to explain himself.

“After all, you are a deputy, why do you fight?”

said the journalist

However, Bereza did not explain his attack on the Russian journalist, and only said that “nobody has respect here” for Skabeeva.

“If to speak how the youth speak, then it is fair to say that the Ukrainian delegation officially hit rock bottom. What do I mean? You remember very well these green sanitary gloves that the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Aleksey Goncharenko came here [to PACE] with. You also remember how Irina Gerashenko performed the Ukrainian anthem here, waving the Ukrainian flag.

But this time an unexpected thing happened. First and foremost for the Council of Europe, for PACE. Here, indeed, people have never seen such things in their life. The Ukrainian deputies staged real fisticuffs. The Ukrainian journalist Mr Sidorenko was the instigator. It would probably be reasonable and logical to stop him, but no. Deputy Bereza – this same aggressor, the radical from Right Sector – decided to support him. They pushed me. It is impossible to say that it was joyful or pleasant,” said Olga Skabeeva about the incident during a live broadcast from Strasbourg during the evening broadcast of “60 minutes”.

According to the TV host, now the behavior of members of the Ukrainian delegation will be considered by a specially created and urgently convened ethical commission in the Council of Europe.

“We don’t fully understand how this case will end. But it would be fair if the Ukrainian delegation was punished, because it’s unclear why and on what grounds a Ukrainian official starts laying his hands on others”

said Skabeeva

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