Lawmaker sparks scandal after shooting man in leg
New Year’s Eve passed off peacefully enough in war-torn Ukraine — until a senior lawmaker shot a man in the leg during a testosterone-charged road rage incident.
Ukrainians bored by a relative lack of news over the holiday period have been gripped by accounts of the fight between the man and the senior politician that also involved an assault with a bottle.
Local media interviewed the gunshot victim Vyacheslav Khimikus from his hospital bed. He admitted that he had attacked the MP with a bottle before being shot.
Khimikus was helping to push a broken-down bus just outside Kiev after stopping his own car but forgetting to switch on his flashing emergency lights.
Into this scene rolled deputy Sergiy Pashynskiy and his wife in a Mercedes Benz.
Khimikus said the lawmaker’s wife rolled down her window and began swearing at him. This prompted Khimikus to challenge Pashynskiy — who was in the passenger seat — to come out “and settle things man-to-man”.
The ensuing duel saw Khimikus whack Pashynskiy in the head with a bottle before the lawmaker shot him in the leg.
“I used the gun only after being hit by a glass bottle and firing a warning shot in the air,” various media quoted Pashynskiy as saying.
The deputy added that his gun was licensed and his actions legal. One of the biggest mysteries intriguing Ukrainians was why he was carrying a gun in the first place.
Pashynskiy heads parliament’s security and defence committee but is not required by law to carry a weapon.
People were also asking why he was in a Mercedes Benz car — a luxury vehicle few Ukrainian officials can afford.
The lawmaker has immunity from prosecution and may not be investigated for any crime while in office.
But Ukrainian media reported that he has had a series of other run-ins with the law.
The former Soviet republic is infamous for having a raucous parliament in which fistfights and all-out brawls are not uncommon but gun use by Ukrainian officials is rare.