Oddly Enough

Drunk official stopped at airport

Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko listens to a journalist's question during a news conference in Kiev, January 25, 2008. REUTERS/ Konstantin Chernichkin

BERLIN (Reuters) - Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko was detained by police at Frankfurt airport and prevented from boarding his flight because of drunken and disorderly conduct, police said Wednesday.

In Kiev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko ordered an investigation into the incident Monday involving Lutsenko, one of the leading figures in the 2004 “Orange Revolution” that swept pro-Western leaders to power.

A Frankfurt police spokesman said Lutsenko was prevented from boarding a flight to Seoul, South Korea, after airport officials noticed that he and his 19-year old son, with whom he was traveling, were severely drunk.

When they were stopped, both passengers flew into a rage, shouted and threw their mobile telephones, police said.

Three male and one female police officers were hurt in the altercation, the police spokesman said, describing the incident as an “ugly situation.”

Ukraine’s interior ministry denied any altercation had taken place at Frankfurt airport but said Lutsenko had missed his flight and departed for Seoul the next day.

Lutsenko, 44, was once a close ally of the president, but in recent months has supported his arch rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Writing by Jacob Comenetz; Editing by Angus MacSwan