A Ukrainian lawmaker has killed himself and injured dozens after detonating multiple grenades at a packed council meeting in the country.
The incident occurred during a Friday morning session meeting of the Kerets’ky village council in the Mukachevo region of western Ukraine, close to the border with Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.
In footage posted by Ukrainian police on the Telegram messaging app, a man dressed in black can be seen standing at the door to the small room where the council meeting is taking place.
A heated discussion is taking place between a resident and a council member, interrupted by the man who shouts, “May I?”
He proceeds to pull out at least three grenades from his coat pocket, pulls out the pin, and throws the explosives on the floor in front of him.
Attendees do not appear to process what is happening until the grenades detonate, sparking screaming and terror among those present.
“As a result, 26 people were wounded, six of whom are in a grave condition,” a police statement said.
According to authorities, emergency responders attempted to resuscitate the perpetrator but he is understood to have died from his injuries.
Ukrainian media has named the attacker as 53-year-old Serhii Batryn, a deputy of the Servant of the People party affiliated with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was reported that the bomber recently published many videos criticizing local authorities on his Facebook page.
The attack comes just hours after European leaders voted in favor of commencing EU accession talks with Ukraine with Zelensky hailing the move as a “victory for Ukraine and a victory for all of Europe”.
The only dissenting voice, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, left the room as the other EU leaders agreed on the plans.
“Ukraine is not prepared to start negotiations on EU membership. It is a completely senseless, irrational, and incorrect decision to start negotiations under these circumstances and Hungary will not change its decision,” he later said in a social media post.
Hungary has remained vehemently opposed to Ukraine’s immediate accession to the European Union due to a myriad of factors, not least the ongoing conflict in the country which Budapest warns will “bring war to Europe”.
The Hungarian government argues that Ukraine cannot start talks because it is not even clear how much of Ukraine will be joining or what its population will be. Orbán’s administration has also expressed its concern regarding the treatment of the ethnic Hungarian minority living in the country.