Andrii Meleshkov: Ukrainian man, 36, brutally STABBED for 'being Russian' at Brooklyn bar
The suspect was hit with felony hate crime charges and a slew of other raps, including menacing, harassment and criminal possession of a weapon
An enraged Ukrainian man brutally stabbed another Ukrainian man for speaking Russian at a Brooklyn bar. The incident is now reportedly being investigated as a hate crime.
Andrii Meleshkov, who was born and raised in Eastern Ukraine, has a Russian mother. He said that he was attacked by Oleg Sulyma, 31, while he was at Signature karaoke bar in Sheepshead Bay celebrating a friend’s birthday last week. Sulyma reportedly sat down at his table and hurled “profanities” at him and his friends. “You look Russian,” Sulyma, who is Ukrainian, said, according to prosecutors.
Meleshkov, 36, is a truck driver who left Eastern Europe and moved to Brooklyn in 2015. When he insisted that he was Ukrainian, Sulyma refused to believe him. “We switched to Ukrainian in order to calm him down but it was getting him more and more agitated and he started asking us to translate words to prove that we’re Ukrainian,” Meleshkov told New York Post.
Prosecutors and Meleshkov claimed that Sulyma asked him and his friends to say the word “Palianytsia”, which is a type of Ukrainian domed bread. Native Russian speakers often have difficulty pronouncing the word because of its combination of vowels and consonants. “If you get it wrong, I’ll have my way with you,” warned Sulyma, according to prosecutors.
Meleshkov's parents are now hiding in a basement in Zaporizhzhia to escape the Russian troops. He said the word while trying to pay the bill and leave, but Sulyma just kept getting “angrier and angrier,” he claimed. According to prosecutors, Sulyma then grabbed two beer bottles kept on the table and smashed them together. He then allegedly turned toward Meleshkov and said, "I’m getting ready to kill you.”
“He grabbed sharp shards of glass from the broken bottles and he started advancing towards us and we realized that he’s serious and he’s going to start to slash us,” Meleshkov said. "Everything happened in the blink of a moment. I thought that I was going to quickly get up and push him away and run away but then he lunged and I felt that he hit me in the neck.” Meleshkov recalled that he “realized something horrible had happened” when he saw blood dripping down his arm from stash wounds to his cheeks, ears, temple and neck. He eventually had to get 17 stitches for his wounds.
“I was screaming to call the police and the medics … everything was covered in blood and it was just insanity going on,” Meleshkov said. “I got lucky … the paramedics told me it’s my second birthday because the wound that was on the left side on the neck, it came really close to the carotid artery.”
Meleshkov said he pinned Sulyma, who is a construction worker living in Brooklyn for over 12 years, to the ground as he waited for the cops to arrive. Sulyma was hit with felony hate crime charges and a slew of other raps, including menacing, harassment and criminal possession of a weapon.
Sulyma’s attorney Arthur Gershfeld said that Sulyma was also a victim and could have been "killed". He accused Meleshkov and his friends of leaving him intubated in the hospital. “The simple fact of the matter is, this is a disputed argument between people and my client bore the brunt of it. He was the one who was pummeled, he was the one that was beaten up by three people and he was the one who sustained a collapsed lung, multiple stitches to his lip, multiple stitches to his eye, bruising all over his body,” Gershfeld said in court. “Had it not been for a friend that covered my client, then [Meleshkov] and his friends would have probably killed my client.” He later reportedly said that Sulyma's injuries do not make sense if Meleshkov was only defending himself. He also noted that Sulyma was in the hospital longer than Meleshkov.