A Ukrainian presidential candidate has gotten into a fight with local Euromaidan supporters while trying to visit pro-Russian separatists at a hospital in southern Ukraine.
Lawmaker Oleh Tsaryov, a member of Ukraine's Party of Regions, which endorsed former President Viktor Yanukovych in the last elections, was greeted with a torrent of verbal abuse as he made his way to the hospital in Mykolaiv on Wednesday.
Several pro-Russian activists were being kept there after violent clashes with pro-Ukrainian demonstrators on April 8, the Kyiv Post reported Thursday.
The confrontation quickly turns violent and Tsaryov, who at one point is seen trying to strike his detractors, receives several blows to the head as security guards and police struggle to hold back the crowd.
"We speak Russian here, so whom did you come to defend us from?" shouts one of the protesters, in a nod to the Kremlin's declaration that its actions in Crimea were necessitated by an obligation to defend the rights of Russian-speakers in the Black Sea peninsula.
Several demonstrators continue to shout obscenities toward the lawmaker, before a hospital spokesman intervenes, saying the hospital's doctors have to be allowed to carry out their duties uninterrupted. Tsaryov left the grounds of the hospital soon after the spokesman's intervention.
Speaking after the incident, Tsaryov reiterated his intention to run for president in Ukraine's May election, and said the opposition were trying to organize provocations against him.
"I am not planning to stop, I will not be intimidated and will not stop. … Indeed, I have the status of a presidential candidate and deputy, whereas the people have nothing," Tsaryov said, Interfax reported.