Ukraine: MPs scuffle over Russian language
Kiev: Opposition and government MPs scuffled in the Ukrainian Parliament while considering a bill aimed at expanding the use of Russian language in the country.
A brawl broke out ahead of Thursday`s voting, opposition deputies burst into Parliament and scuffled with members of the pro-presidential Party of Regions.
A disgusted speaker, Volodymir Litvin, immediately announced the end of the session.
The opposition feels the bill will only aggravate relations between Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking citizens.
"We demand that Parliament does not discuss such a bill at all as this issue could split the society," thundered Vyacheslav Kirilenko, an opposition deputy.
According to various estimates, Russian language is native to 30-50 percent of Ukrainians as both countries have deep historic links.
Under the Ukrainian Constitution, Ukrainian is the only official state language.
Before he was elected in 2010, President Viktor Yanukovych promised to make Russian the other official language but did not achieve the required majority in Parliament to get the bill through.
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