With a downed passenger jet, militant separatists, and a menacing neighbor to deal with, tensions are understandably running a little high among those running Ukraine. Today, a fight in parliament erupted between members of the nationalist Svoboda [Freedom] party and the Party of Regions, the pro-Russia party of former president Viktor Yanukovich.
The fight allegedly broke out after Svoboda member Oleg Tiagnybok voted to remove Donetsk native and Party of Regions representative Yuri Levchenko from parliament; Levchenko asserted that Svoboda “kills its citizens.”
This isn't the first time Svoboda has been involved in a brawl in parliament — another one occurred in April when communist leader Petro Symonenko criticized party members for encouraging strong-arm tactics.
Today's dispute occurred after members passed a presidential decree to partially mobilize the country, drawing up military reserves and drafting men under 50 years old to protect Ukraine’s border. The decree extends an original call for military reserves issued a month and a half ago.
Before the vote, security official Andriy Paruby told the Ukrainian parliament that Russia was increasing its presence at the border, with about 41,000 soldiers, 150 tanks, and more than 900 other large weapons mobilized.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian director of informational security Vitaly Nayda alleged that it was a Russian officer, not a pro-Russia separatist, who launched the missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. "A Russian-trained, well-equipped, well-educated officer… pushed that button deliberately,” said Nayda, citing Ukrainian intelligence.
After spending several days stuck at the crash site, most of the bodies from the flight are now en route to the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the EU is still considering tougher economic sanctions on Russia.
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