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Ukrainian Veterans Did Not Threaten a Russian Diplomat

Maria Berlinska confronts Maxim Buyakevych.
Maria Berlinska confronts Maxim Buyakevych.
Maria Zakharova

Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson

“People in camouflage were running around the U.N.; they shouted, photographed Russian diplomats and threatened. It was about direct threats.”

Russian diplomats were not threatened by people in camouflage uniforms.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed that on May 9, members of a Ukrainian delegation dressed in military uniforms harassed and threatened Russian delegates at the U.N. The alleged incident was reported both by the website and the Russian state news agency TASS. On May 12, Maria Zakharova also made a post about the event on her Facebook page.

The incident allegedly occurred during an event organized by Ukraine’s permanent delegation to the United Nations on the topic of propaganda and fake news. In attendance were two female Ukrainian war veterans, in uniform, who were accompanied by Maria Berlinska, also a veteran drone reconnaissance soldier and director of the documentary film The Invisible Battalion. Also in attendance was Maxim Buyakevych, a Russian Foreign Ministry official, who had been invited to the discussion.

As reported by Tatiana Vorozhko of Voice of America’s Ukrainian service, one of the female veterans, Adriana Susak, posed a question to Buyakevych.

"I, a Ukrainian veteran of the war against Russian occupation, saw the results of your (Russia’s) politics, ‘truth,’ and information warfare,” Susak said. “As a shock trooper, and my sister here, who is a Russian-speaking sniper in the Ukrainian armed forces, we want to say...We do not need your (Russian military) ‘support’ and ‘protection.’ The population of the Donbas does not need your ‘protection.’ As for propaganda, in 2014, in the Donbas, they thought we had come to eat their children; now the people of the Donbas want your troops to return home to Russia. The question is -- when will you start to ‘defend’ Russians in Russia with your Russian propaganda?”

Berlinska recorded the statement on her phone and later posted it on her Facebook page.

After the event, Berlinska followed the Russian diplomat and recorded him on her phone as she asked him several questions.

“Why have you come to our land, Maxim,” she asks in the video. “Why do you kill our people?”

She then says “Leave Ukraine, Maxim,” adding: “What? You don’t have enough courage to answer a soldier?” She then says: “Soon you will leave. Very soon.”

As the video shows, Berlinska did not threaten or attempt to touch Buyakevych. She also noted on her Facebook page that she was not dressed in camouflage, nor does she appear in the video to have been accompanied by the two female veterans who were present with her during the event at the U.N.