Hundreds of Ukrainians rioted outside the Russian embassy in Kiev on Saturday night after pro-Russian separatists in the country's troubled east shot down an army transport plane, killing all 49 on board.
The protesters demanded that Russia admit to aiding the separatists, charges Moscow denies, and take steps to end the conflict in the east.
Some threw paint, rocks, petrol bombs, and Molotov cocktails. A few broke inside and screamed at Russian diplomats. Others smashed cars.
Russia was outraged.
Ukraine's acting foreign minister, Andrii Deshchytsia, attempted to calm protesters down. "We must fulfill our international obligations, including defending the right of Russia to have an embassy in Ukraine," he said.
Those in the furious crowd weren't having it. "Did I say that I am against you protesting? I am for you protesting," Deshchytsia continued. "I'm ready to stand here with you and say, 'Russia, get out of Ukraine! Yes, 'Putin khuilo,' he added.
The song has swept the country since pro-unity soccer fans debuted it before a match in the city of Kharkiv in March.
By Sunday, things had calmed down in Kiev.
But they were only getting started in Moscow, where pro-Kremlin activists quickly picketed the Ukrainian embassy overnight. Four people were arrested for throwing toilet paper at the U.S. embassy.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told his French counterpart Laurent Fabius that he was "over the inaction of the Kiev authorities who allowed the rioting outside the Russian embassy," according to a ministry statement.
Lavrov filed an official note of protest against the "bacchanalia" to Kiev on Sunday. Konstantin Dolgov, one of his deputies, said the incident "just goes to show the political culture, or rather, lack thereof, of the people in power in Kiev."
Russia's ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov, told state TV that the attack on the embassy had been "carefully planned."
"Poroshenko needs to change his foreign minister," Russian parliamentary foreign affairs chief Alexey Pushkov wrote on Twitter. "He's bad at controlling himself. He might get wasted without warning and barf all over the U.N. General Assembly."
Western governments also condemned the riot and called on Ukraine to uphold its international obligations to protect the embassy.
But the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine — who agreed when his boss, assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, said "Fuck the EU" in a leaked phone conversation in February — praised Deshchtysia for helping end the riot.
"Oof, they shouldn't be legalizing weed," Russia Today head Margarita Simonyan wrote of Pyatt's comment.
"My statement was a way to show my discontent peacefully," Deshchtysia told Russian radio, before backtracking and claiming he hadn't made a "statement."
"The main thing was that we managed to stop the violence and provocations outside the Russian embassy," Deshchytsia wrote on Sunday. "But if Russian aggression continues, it's going to be harder to do."
Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71
Contact Max Seddon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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