Chaos broke out in the Ukrainian parliament

The clashes began as members of parliament were debating extending the lease on the Sevastopol naval base.

Sevastopol area

The Russians currently have a lease on the base until 2017. The Russians have offered Ukraine cheaper supplies of Russian natural gas in exchange for a further 25 years on the lease.

Several smoke bombs were thrown during a debate members of parliament were seen fighting on the chamber floor while opposition MPs threw eggs at the speaker of the house, Volodymyr Lytvyn.

It is not clear who threw the smoke bombs, although opposition MPs were thought to be responsible, but the debate continued despite the lingering smoke and chaos. The speaker had to be protected by two aides holding umbrellas and politicians held handkerchiefs to their mouths.

Along with the brawling MPs, thousands of people waited outside the parliament building protesting the extended lease.

After the chaos had calmed down, MPs voted on the agreement and the deal extending the lease was backed 236 to 214. The deal was then put forward in the Russian lower house of parliament, where all 410 Russian MPs voted in favour of the deal.

According to the 1997 treaty, the Russian naval base is located in Sevastopol on the terms of a twenty year renewable lease, following a long diplomatic and political dispute between Russia and the newly independent Ukraine.

At first, Moscow refused to recognize Ukrainian sovereignty over Sevastopol as well as over the surrounding Crimean oblast, arguing that the city was never practically integrated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic due to its military base status.

This claim has been relinquished in the bilateral “Peace & Friendship” treaty, which has confirmed that Sevastopol belongs to Ukraine. A separate treaty establishes the terms of a long-term lease of land and resources in Sevastopol by Russia.

On April 27, 2010 Russia and Ukraine ratified a new treaty extending the Russian navy’s lease of the Sevastopol base for 25 years after 2017 with an option to further prolong the lease for five additional years. Eventually the treaty was ratified by a 236 out of 450 majority. The Russian Duma ratified the treaty by a 98% majority without incident.

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