MH17: Ukraine MPs fight in parliament following decision to call up extra border troops


Jack Simpson
Tuesday 22 July 2014 16:58

Scuffles have broken out in the Ukrainian parliament after a presidential decree was approved to call up more reserves to defend the country against the growing numbers of Russian troops on the country’s eastern border.

Under the new decree extra reserves and men under 50 will now be called up to help with the “anti-terrorist operation” on the border.

At a parliamentary vote at the Supreme Council of Ukraine in Kiev today, the decree to “conduct partial mobilisation” was announced, the latest since a similar plan was given the go-ahead 45 days ago.

A majority of 232 of the 450 lawmakers voted in favour of the decree that would see thousands of extra troops called up to join Ukrainian forces in the conflict area to the east of the country.

Following the decision, footage shows politicians from Ukraine’s nationalist parties and members of the Party of Regions, formerly run by president Viktor Yanukovich, pushing and shoving one another in disagreement over the decree.

In the video we see Nikolai Levchenko, an MP for Party of Regions, react to the vote by telling parliament that the Ukrainian army has been killing people.

His microphone is then turned off by speaker Alexander Tyrchinov and he is pushed off the stand by one of the opposition members.

Other MPs then get involved and a period of pushing and shoving between dozens of representatives ensues before it is eventually calmed down.

The decision comes amid accusations that Russia has begun to build up forces on the border to aid the pro-Russian rebels.

In May, it was reported that Russia had withdrawn the majority of its estimated 40,0000 troops from the Ukrainian border.

However, Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Andriy Paruby said that Russia was once again transporting troops to the region.

He said: "Over the last week, close to the Ukrainian border, there has been a regrouping and build-up of forces of the Russian Federation."

Paruby argued that the number of Russians on the border now exceeded 40,000 with another 150 tanks, 400 armoured vehicles and 500 other weapon systems brought in to support the troops.

These claims were partially supported by a report earlier this month by NATO, whose spokesman claimed there were around 10,000 to 12,000 troops in the area, with the numbers continuing to grow.

Paruby said that these actions were regarded by the Ukraine as “aggression against the state ".

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