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Ukraine: Parliament speaker to quit over language vote

Ukraine: Parliament speaker to quit over language vote
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The speaker of Ukraine’s parliament has offered to resign over a move to boost the status of the Russian language.

Violence erupted on Tuesday when the bill was rushed through the house by the majority Party of Regions.

This morning, speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn described how he felt ambushed.

“They tricked us as if we were children, but on a larger scale they have tricked the people of Ukraine and I think the results of this deception will be felt for some time. Therefore, I ask you to consider and accept my resignation,” said Lytvyn.

His deputy has also offered to step down.

The bill will not become law until first Lytvyn and President Viktor Yanukovich have signed it.

If passed, the bill would recognise Russian as a ‘regional’ language, in predominantly Russian-speaking areas, enabling its use in the public service.

Critics say the move is a threat to Ukrainian sovereignty and its 20 years of independence since the break-up of the Soviet Union.