Kiev, May 25 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Ahead of the consideration of a bill aimed to expand the Russian language’s usage in the country, the Ukrainian parliament witnessed a brawl Thursday.
Prior to the beginning of the voting, opposition deputies burst into the building of the parliament and instigated a scuffle with members of the pro-presidential Party of Regions.
Parliamentary speaker Volodymir Litvin announced the end of the meeting.
The opposition argued the bill would only aggravate relationship between Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking citizens.
“We demand that the parliament does not discuss such a bill at all as this issue could split the society,” said Vyacheslav Kirilenko, a deputy with the opposition party Our Ukraine – People’s Self-defence, while addressing a gather.
According various estimates, the Russian language is native to 30 to 50 percent of Ukrainians as both countries share deep historic links.
Under the country’s constitution, Ukrainian is the only official state language in Ukraine.
Before being elected in 2010, President Viktor Yanukovych promised to make Russian the other official language but could not achieve the required majority in parliament to get the bill through.