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MOSCOW – Members of the Ukrainian political party Svoboda physically confronted Alexander Panteleimonov, head of the country’s national TV company, and forced him to resign.
In a video that went viral on the Internet, several members of the nationalist party Svoboda, including controversial parliament member Igor Miroshnichenko, accused Panteleimonov, who had headed the company since early 2013, of pro-Russian sympathies. They were apparently outraged by the fact that the TV network UT 1 had broadcasted a report on celebrations in Russia on the occasion of secession of Crimea from Ukraine to Russia.
After insulting Panteleimonov verbally, the party members pushed him into a chair, hit him in the face and forced him to write a resignation request.
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Ukrainian authorities promised to investigate the incident. “The actions of parliament deputies in the offices of UT 1, which I saw in the video, are outrageous,” Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook account. “UT 1 is outrageous but this type of solving the problem is outrageous as well.”
He added that he was ready to launch a probe into the incident.
Prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk also condemned the politicians. “This isn’t our kind of methods,” he was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN. “The actions of Ukraine’s national TV company’s management are to be judged by the cabinet of ministers, in accordance with the law.”
In the video below, Miroshnichenko is seen saying that he and his colleagues are going to ask Panteleimonov some questions about broadcasts related to Crimea’s secession from Ukraine to Russia. Upon entering the office of the TV network chief, the party members begin asking questions and the scene gradually degenerates into verbal abuse. The scuffle ensues after the 4:30 mark.
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