Amid rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin had legally recognized the breakaway states of Donetsk and Luhansk, a wrestling match between a Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov and pro-Russia party Opposition Platform-For Life Nestor Shufrych broke out amid Savik Shuster’s Freedom of Speech talk show when the latter refused to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Kremlin’s aggression along Ukraine’s borders. This brawl happened just a few days before Russian troops had been ordered to be stationed in Donetsk and Luhansk a few hours ago.

Shufrych, who was in the middle of speaking, was slapped by Butusov, thus starting the brawl on live television, much to the enjoyment of the studio audience as they were clapping as it happened. It wasn’t just the general public that was watching on as the two men rolled on the floor. Also in attendance were former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who were visibly in awe of what was transpiring. After a few moments of clapping, the audience was yelling at the two men to let each other go.

The fight was said to last around a minute or two as Butusov put Shufrych under a headlock and visibly scratched the politician as he was left with feral-like wounds on his head, which left him bloodied and humiliated on national television in Ukraine.

What had been asked prior to the brawl? Yatsenyuk had asked Medvedchuk ally Nestor Shufrych whether Russia’s Putin is a murderer and a criminal or not? To which the pro-Russian politician said, “Let Ukraine’s authorities deal with that.” where Poroshenko mockingly responded, “There’s a Russian agent right here in the studio.”

Once the two men were separated, Nestor Shufrych, who found himself on the receiving end of the fight for refusing to condemn Vladimir Putin, said that Butusov was “scratching like a girl.” Illustrating perhaps the deep political divisions in Ukraine between people who are pro-Western versus pro-Russia this brawl on TV comes as Russian troops move into the two break-away regions on a formal basis. During

“Ukrainians are so tired of the tension amid the news about allegedly ‘imminent Russian aggression’ that they are already jokingly offering to be the first to declare war on Russia in order to immediately surrender,” said Nestor Shufrych in a speech.

The pro-Russian politician is part of Viktor Medvedchuk’s Opposition Platform–For Life. Medvedchuk is a well-known Putin ally, a wealthy business oligarch, and currently accused of treason and attempted looting of natural resources. He constantly refers to Putin as his personal friend, and perhaps solidifying the connection, Putin is the godfather of Medvedchuk’s youngest daughter, Darya.

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya, right, talks with U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, center, during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the Ukraine crisis, in New York, Feb. 21, 2022 (VOA). Source: https://www.voanews.com/a/us-says-un-meeting-a-chance-for-russia-to-explain-itself-/6453352.html
Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya, right, talks with U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, center, during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the Ukraine crisis, in New York, Feb. 21, 2022 (VOA).

While these two Ukrainians battled it out on live television, Russian forces are currently in Donbas as of this writing in a ‘peacekeeping’ mission, increasing the concerns of Ukrainians that Russia will expand its land grab to the whole of the country. So far, Ukraine has stuck a defiant roles in public. At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council earlier, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya stated, “We are committed to a peaceful and diplomatic path, and we will stay firmly on it. We are on our land. We are not afraid of anything or anyone. We owe nothing to anyone, and we will not give away anything to anyone.”

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzya then replied, “No one other than you can hold back the militaristic plans of Kyiv and force it to stop the shelling against the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, which in these new conditions could have extremely dangerous consequences.”

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