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Ukranian Parliment falls into chaos over Russian naval lease extension

Russian vessel in Sevastopol, Ukraine (file picture)
The deal between Russia to keep their Black Sea fleet in the Ukraine has stirred much controversy.  Photo: AP

Today in the Ukraine, the Parliament voted on the extension of a Russian naval base in the Ukraine.  Kiev has prolonged the lease on the Sevastopol base by 25 years in return for cheaper supplies of Russian gas.

Yet, during the MPs debate over ratification of the agreement, which was made by Mr Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last month, clashes broke-out leading to all out chaos in the chamber.

The chamber's speaker had to be shielded by umbrellas as he was pelted with eggs, while smoke bombs exploded and politicians brawled.

Deputies were seen throwing punches on the floor of the chamber, and covering their faces with handkerchiefs to protect themselves from the smoke and thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the building.

However, despite the chaotic scenes, the debate continued and the deal was backed by 236 out of 450 members of the chamber.

The deal, which came amid rapidly improving ties between Russia and Ukraine following the election of Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February, has been bitterly opposed by Ukrainian pro-Western opposition politicians.

As Ukraine works to secure a loan from the IMF, such a deal does indeed seem necessary, as Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov asserted, the deal would boost the lower gas price would provide to the budget as the country struggles to secure a loan.

"The budget means agreement with the IMF, the possibility of getting investments," he said. "It is a program of development for Ukraine in the future."

On Monday, Russian PM Vladimir Putin visited Kiev where he announced cooperation between the two nations on aircraft manufacturing, shipbuilding and the generation of nuclear power.  "We are talking about creating a large holding which would bring together joint power generation, joint power station construction and the fuel cycle," he was quoted as saying.

Putin said that the deal was not only needed for lower gas costs to the Ukraine, but for also strengthening the ties of the two nations.  He pointed out that "Military co-operation, without a doubt, increases trust between two countries, gives us an opportunity to do work full of trust in the economic and social and political spheres," he said.

But many remain skeptical of Russian motives in the nation.  Igor Derevyanko, a protester outside of Parliament, accused Russia of "financing anti-Ukrainian projects".   Asserting that "This is a permanent threat to Ukraine's territorial integrity because the Black Sea fleet is the outpost of the Russian state in Ukraine," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

Comments

  • Boondocks 4 years ago

    I wish we'd see Senators and Congressmen this worked up over something in the states. Could you imagine Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid getting an egg in the face at the podium? It'd be awesome!

  • cherrymack 4 years ago

    Best way to beat this is a $250 gasoline gift card, find here the participating locations www.bit.ly/8YUnRT

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