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‘Drunk’ minister halts Ukraine parliament hearing

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‘Drunk’ minister halts Ukraine parliament hearing

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A parliamentary hearing on Ukraine’s budget was suspended on Tuesday when opposition deputies alleged that the deputy finance minister presenting the budget report was drunk.

Anatoly Myarkovsky, the first deputy finance minister, spoke for 10 minutes on the budget. But when questions were invited, deputies from Ukraine’s opposition yelled out “He’s drunk”. One deputy even shouted: “Anyone within five metres can tell he reeks of someone who has been drinking vodka. Mr. Speaker, go and sniff for yourself.”

Speaker Volodymyr Rybak suspended the budget hearing until it had been clarified whether or not Myarkovsky had indeed been under the influence of alcohol.
Myarkovsky himself left the chamber as Rybak was speaking. There was no formal word from his office.

A deputy from the ruling Regions party, Volodymyr Makeyenko, sprang to Myarkovsky’s defence. “There wasn’t any smell of alcohol coming from the deputy minister. I have known him for 20 years and he’s a responsible person – these allegations are just an attempt by the opposition to undermine the proceedings,” he told journalists later.

Ukraine’s parliament is often a theatre for physical tussles and fist-fights among deputies. A parliamentary session had to be cancelled in December last year after a brawl broke out among MPs.

With REUTERS