Brawl erupts in Ukraine parliament

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Brawl erupts in Ukraine parliament

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A Ukrainian politician was rushed to hospital on Thursday after a brawl broke out in parliament.

The fight started during a debate on a controversial bill, that if enacted, would make Russian one of Ukraine’s official languages in the east and south of the country.

Dozens of opposition deputies, who want to preserve Ukraine’s cultural independence from its powerful neighbour, tried to prevent the bill from being heard. Many of them threw themselves on their opponents, who responded by punching.

Opposition deputy Mykola Petruk is thought to have suffered a blow to the head and was taken to hospital.

Critics of President Viktor Yanukovich accuse him of trying to divide Ukrainians ahead of parliamentary elections in October.

The former Soviet republic has a large minority of Russian speakers in several regions.

The bill’s reading is expected to resume on Friday.