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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. Read More…

Nuclear Security Summit

President Barack Obama open the 47-nation Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.  The president says he wants new commitments to secure weapons-grade plutonium and uranium to prevent nuclear terrorism.

With concerns about the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea a major backdrop to the conference, this is the biggest U.S.-sponsored gathering of world leaders in more than 60 years.

The New START treaty was signed on April 8, 2010 in Prague by U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev and Iran will hold the Tehran International Conference on Disarmament and Non- Proliferation, 2010, announced on April 4, 2010 and to be held April 17–18, 2010.

The Summit is the largest gathering of heads of state called by a United States president since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization. Delegations from forty-six governments plus the United States are attending, thirty-eight of which are represented by heads of state or government. Read More…

Mykola Azarov is appointed PM of Ukraine

Mykola Azarov is appointed Prime Minister of Ukraine, formally replacing Yulia Tymoshenko.

The Verkhovna Rada appointed Azarov Prime Minister of Ukraine on 11 March 2010. 242 out of 343 lawmakers registered in the session hall voted for this decision.

Mykola Yanovych Azarov (Ukrainian: Микола Янович Азаров) was born on 17 December 1947 and was the First Vice Prime Minister and Finance Minister from 2002 to 2005 and again from 2006 to 2007, and he also served as acting Prime Minister for two short periods in late 2004 and early 2005. Following the victory of Viktor Yanukovych in the 2010 presidential election,

Ukraine presidential election heads for second round

The 2010 Ukrainian presidential election will go into a runoff vote as no candidate has 50% of the popular vote. The top two candidates are Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The runoff will be held February 7.

According to exit polls, Viktor Yanukovich is currently leading with 31-36% of the vote, with Yulia Tymoshenko in second with 25-27%. Eighteen other candidates, including incumbent president Viktor Yushchenko, have been eliminated from the election.

This election is expected to be scrutinized by third party auditors, as opposing candidates have accused each other of attempting to rig the election. President Yushchenko said that “Ukraine once again will demonstrate that it is a European democratic country, that it is a free nation, free people and free election.”

Russia and Ukraine fight over natural gas

Disputes between Russian state-controlled gas supplier Gazprom and Ukraine over natural gas supplies, prices and debts have threatened natural gas supplies in numerous European countries that depend on Russian natural gas.

In January 2009, the dispute resulted in 18 European countries reporting major falls or cut-offs of gas supplies from Ukrainian pipelines carrying Gazprom gas bound for them. Read More…

Natural gas crisis hits Austria and Turkey

With freezing temperatures, combined with snow over the past few days Russia halted the natural gas flow to Ukraine, and therefore to subsequent countries such as Bulgaria, Austria, Turkey, Poland, Romania and Hungary.

The Russian natural gas pipeline is the primary source of natural gas for some countries such as Ukraine, Austria and Turkey.

Ukraine is currently in negotiations with Russia in order to restart the gas flow, however Russia has increased the prices from US$179.50 per 1,000 cubic meters to $250 per 1,000 cubic meters for Ukraine. Read More…

IMF prepares to help Hungary and Ukraine

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is preparing a series of loans to both Hungary and Ukraine as financial problems are hitting the two countries. Hungary has already received a 5 billion credit line from the European Central Bank (ECB). Ukraine is seeking a loan of up to US$14 billion.

The credit line to Hungary will be used to cover banks’ shortage of euros. Hungary has a severe debt problem with them posting an account deficit of €5.3 billion or 4.9% of GDP this year. As a result of this, Hungary is unable to find suitable credit to store up its supply of euros. Read More…