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May 25, 2012

Ukraine Opposition Blocks Parliament Session After Brawl

by VOA News

Ukraine opposition lawmakers have physically blocked the parliament speaker's podium to prevent debate on a language law that sparked a brawl, sending a lawmaker to the hospital.

Parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn on Friday said the fight showed that the body could no longer work together and called for the chamber to be disbanded and early elections be held. The idea was dismissed by most parties because elections are scheduled for October.

Lawmakers loyal to President Viktor Yanukovich scuffled with opposition legislators Thursday over the use of Russian as an official language in Ukraine's predominantly Russian-speaking eastern region.

President Yanukovich supports the pro-Russian bill, but the pro-Western opposition lawmakers say it threatens Ukraine's independence from Russia.

Ukraine is separated into the Russian-speaking eastern and southern regions and the Ukrainian-speaking western region.