Former lawmaker Oleh Lyashko, leader of the Radical Party, made headlines on Nov. 6 when he attacked Andriy Gerus, a lawmaker with President Volodymyr Zelensky’s the Servant of the People party, in the VIP lounge of Boryspil International Airport near Kyiv. Lyashko had his associate film the fight and then posted it on Facebook.

Now, Lyashko faces criminal charges for the attack on the lawmaker.

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The Boryspil prosecutor’s office subpoenaed Lyashko to come on Nov. 18 and receive an official notice of suspicion for the attack, the ex-lawmaker said on Facebook.

A Kyiv Post source in the prosecutor’s office, who did not want to be identified speaking publicly about an active investigation, said that prosecutors will ask the court to put Lyashko under house arrest. According to the source, Lyashko is being charged with an attack on a public official and may face up to seven years in prison.

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Lyashko attacked Gerus in Kyiv Boryspil International Airport’s special lounge for official delegations. He first demanded to know whether Gerus was traveling at public expense. 

Then Lyashko accused Gerus, who heads the energy committee in parliament, of lobbying on behalf of Russian interests. Gerus introduced an amendment that allowed Ukraine to resume imports of electricity from Russia and Belarus on Oct. 1 . Gerus in return blamed Lyashko for lobbying in the interests of Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest oligarch, who is a major producer of electricity in the country.

The shouting ended with the fight and Lyashko tearing Gerus’ shirt.

Lyashko said on Facebook that he would come to the prosecutor’s office to receive the notice of suspicion but called the case against him fabricated.

If he is arrested, Lyashko’s popularity would likely grow. The former lawmaker has largely kept a low profile in recent months after losing his seat in parliament in July, getting only 4% of the general vote. But if he is convicted, Lyashko would lose the right to run in any upcoming elections unless the conviction is annulled.

Lyashko, 46, has been in politics for the last 13 years since he was first elected in parliament in 2006. His political career peaked in 2014 when he came third in the presidential election, winning 8.3% of the vote.  

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