A fight erupted in Ukraine’s upper house of parliament on Friday when a member of the legislature attempted to drag prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk from the floor’s podium after giving the government leader a bouquet of flowers.
Mr Yatsenyuk was delivering an annual report recapping the work of his government when a deputy representing president Petro Poroshenko’s political bloc in parliament approached the stage to drag Mr Yatsenyuk away. The incident sparked a wider fist fight between deputies on the floor. [Watch a two-minute video of the mayhem here.]
Mr Yatsenyuk’s own faction in parliament has been at odds with a group loyal to Mr Poroshenko amid growing concern and public discontent over Ukraine’s still-rampant levels of corruption. Mr Yatsenyuk in his speech insisted the government does not have the power to prosecute corruption cases.
“Who prosecutes? Prosecutors do. So who is in charge? The General Prosecutor’s office. The president appoints the prosecutor general” Mr Yatsenyuk was quoted as saying in his report by the Kiev Post, a local English-language newspaper.
Meanwhile, outside the parliament building, up to 1,000 protesters gathered to demand the resignation of the Ukrainian government and its head — Mr Yatsenyuk — according to Russian media reports on Friday. The Poroshenko Bloc in Parliament has also called for his resignation.
But responding to a question from a Poroshenko Bloc MP, the Prime Minister said he would only resign if the legislature voted to remove him from his post.
The head of the Poroshenko Bloc, Yury Lutsenko, later apologised to Mr Yatsenyuk for the brawl.
“Being a supporter of Yatsenyuk’s resignation myself, I believe that the flowers incident and fight will only increase his chances to stay in the position,” Mr Lutsenko wrote on his Facebook page.
Ukraine’s Yatsenyuk faces dismissal pressure from protesters, Poroshenko, Sputnik News, Dec 12, 2015