Ukrainian legislators brawl in parliament
A violent scuffle erupted in Ukraine's parliament yesterday evening over a bill that would allow use of the Russian language in courts, hospitals and other institutions in Russian-speaking regions of the country.
The fight broke out between pro-western opposition members who want to take Ukraine out of Russia's shadow and lawmakers from President Viktor Yanukovych's party, which bases its support in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east.
At least one legislator, opposition lawmaker Mykola Petruk, suffered an apparent blow to the head and was taken to the hospital with blood streaming down his face.
Lawmakers have frequently scuffled in the Ukrainian parliament. A fierce fight in December 2010, which sent at least six lawmakers to the hospital, started when members of Mr Yanukovych's party threw chairs and punched opposition lawmakers who had been blocking legislative work all day.
Ukraine is deeply divided into the Russian-speaking east and south, which favours close ties with Moscow, and the Ukrainian-speaking west, which wants Ukraine to join the western club.