A brawl broke out in the Ukrainian Parliament when the leader of the communists accused the nationalists that they had adopted extreme measures during initial unrest that played into the hands of the wants of Russia. The nationalists grabbed the communist leader, which caused other communists to jump on the nationalists, leading to an all-out brawl.
A brawl erupted in the Ukrainian parliament chamber after the country’s communist leader accused nationalists of playing into the hands of Russia by adopting extreme tactics early in the Ukrainian crisis.
Two deputies from the Svoboda far-right nationalist party took exception to the charges by communist Petro Symonenko and seized him while he was talking from the rostrum. His supporters rallied to his defence and a brawl broke out with deputies from other parties joining in and trading punches.
The fight erupted hours after Ukraine launched an “anti-terrorist” operation against pro-Russian separatists occupying government buildings in several of its eastern cities.
Police arrested 70 pro-Russian demonstrators in Kharkiv on Tuesday, while protesters in two other cities held similar standoffs. Ukrainian authorities gave few details of the operation that cleared the building in Kharkiv but said two police officers had been wounded by a grenade.
Against the backdrop of the deepening crisis in the south-east, Symonenko stirred nationalist anger in parliament when, referring to the pro-Russian protesters who had seized buildings in eastern Ukraine, he suggested that nationalists had set a precedent earlier this year by seizing public buildings in protest at the rule of the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Now, he said, armed groups were attacking people who wanted to defend their rights by peaceful means. “You are today doing everything to intimidate people. You arrest people, start fighting people who have a different point of view,” he said, before being pulled away from the rostrum by the Svoboda deputies.