Ukrainian Man Stabbed Because He ‘Looked Russian’ in New York City

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BROOKLYN, NY (PRESS RELEASE) – Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with attempted murder as a hate crime and other charges for allegedly attacking and stabbing a Ukrainian man after stating: “You look Russian.”

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly attempted to murder an innocent Ukrainian man who he believed to be Russian in a hateful and violent rage. Brooklyn’s diversity makes our borough so vibrant, and hate-motivated violence will never be tolerated here. Prosecutors in our Hate Crimes Bureau will vigorously seek accountability in this case, and we will continue to work with our community and law enforcement partners to end the troubling uptick in bias-related incidents in our neighborhoods.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Oleg Sulyma, 31, of Gravesend, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on a 24-count indictment in which he is charged with second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, first-degree assault as a hate crime, first-degree attempted assault as a hate crime, second-degree assault as a hate crime, second-degree attempted assault as a hate crime, and related charges. The defendant is on supervised release and was ordered to return to court on August 8, 2022.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on April 25, 2022, at approximately 3:45 a.m., at Falada, a lounge located at 2007-2011 Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, the defendant allegedly approached the 36-year-old victim and his two friends and said: “You look Russian,” and demanded proof they were Ukrainian. When the men replied that they are Ukrainian, the defendant insisted they were Russian and allegedly said: “I will show you what a real Ukrainian is.”

The defendant then allegedly grabbed two beer bottles, which he smashed against a table while threatening the victim and one of the friends, saying, “I’m going to cut you.” According to the investigation, the defendant then stabbed the victim on the left side of his neck and the right side of his face. A waiter at the lounge called 911 and the police responded. The defendant is alleged to have called the victim a “Russian [expletive]” in the presence of police. The victim was treated at Lutheran Hospital and required 17 stitches.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Prabhalya Pulim, of the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Ari Farkas, Deputy Bureau Chief and Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Bureau Chief.

by Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office