Naval deal brings chaos to Ukraine parliament

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The Independent Online

Eggs and smoke bombs were hurled across the chamber of the Ukrainian parliament yesterday as opposition deputies sought to stop the extension of a lease on a Russian naval base in the Crimea.

Despite scenes of chaos inside the Supreme Rada, which saw the parliamentary speaker sheltering behind an umbrella from a hail of eggs and a fist-fight between opposition and pro-government deputies, the new treaty was ratified by a margin of 10 votes.

Around 7,000 people gathered around the parliament building to protest for and against the bill. The deal, signed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week, allows Russia's Black Sea fleet to stay in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol until 2042. In exchange, Russia will provide Ukraine with a 30 per cent discount on gas, a saving of £26bn over the next 10 years.

Critics of the deal, including former president Viktor Yushchenko and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, claim it undermines national sovereignty. Ms Tymo-shenko called the deal "treason".