Ukraine - Russia

Deputies come to blows over Russian naval base deal

Reuters

Fighting broke out in the Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday as deputies debated a controversial deal to extend the lease on a Russian naval base on Ukraine's Black Sea coast. Smoke bombs and eggs were thrown, prompting alarms to sound and deputies to take shelter behind umbrellas.

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Thousands of protestors also gathered outside the parliament building.

Despite the chaos, lawmakers managed to ratify the controversial accord, which will allow Russia to maintain its Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol for another 25 years.

In exchange, Russia will sell Ukraine its natural gas at a 30 per cent discount, a price cut that is estimated to be worth 40 billion dollars over ten years.

Russia's parliament, which discussed the deal in a parallel debate on Tuesday morning, has also ratified the legislation.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was in Ukraine on Monday night as part of an attempt to revive ties between the two countries.

Putin offered Ukraine's new President Viktor Yanukovych a landmark nuclear cooperation deal that would effectively merge the partners' nuclear power businesses.

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