Ukraine parliament ratifies naval base deal with Russia (Lead)April 27th, 2010 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS
Kiev, April 27 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Ukrainian parliament Tuesday ratified a naval base deal with Russia amid brawls and a smoke bomb and egg-throwing incident inside the house.
A total of 236 people voted for the ratification with a minimum of 226 needed to pass the bill.
As soon as the hearing started, a brawl began among the members and a smoke bomb and eggs were thrown at Speaker Volodymyr Litvyn. However, it took lawmakers 40 minutes to ratify the deal, extending the Russian Navy base in the Crimea for another 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017.
Lawmakers of the Party of Regions protected the speaker with umbrellas while sporadic brawls broke out inside the parliament. Several lawmakers walked out of even as two smoke bombs were thrown during the hearing.
Meanwhile, more than 7,000 protesters, led by former president Viktor Yushchenko’s secretary, Vera Ulyanchenko, gathered in front of the parliament and later tried to get through into the building. Their attempts, however, were suppressed by police.
The naval base deal, signed by the Russian and Ukrainian presidents April 21, extends the lease on a Russian base in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017, and may be further extended by another five years. In return, Ukraine will receive a 30 percent discount on Russian natural gas.
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Tags: brawls, crimea, dg, former president, kiev, lawmakers, navy base, president viktor yushchenko, protesters, ratification, ria novosti, russian natural gas, russian navy, sevastopol, smoke bomb, smoke bombs, ukrainian parliament, ukrainian port, umbrellas, viktor yushchenko