Manhandling of Prime Minister Ignites Brawl in Ukraine Parliament During Session

This is not the first time a fight has broken out in the chamber.

December 11, 2015, 11:37 AM

— -- A heated fight erupted in the Ukrainian parliament today after a lawmaker carried Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk off the podium.

Yatsenyuk was delivering his yearly report when parliament member Oleh Barna -- from President Petro Poroshenko's BPP party -- walked to the podium carrying a bouquet of red roses and after handing them to the prime minister, lifted a startled Yatsenyuk up by his crotch.

Dozens of lawmakers raced to the front of the chamber, scuffling as they tried to subdue Barna. Yatsenyuk, who managed to stay out of the brawl, walked calmly back to the podium with the flowers, shaking his head as lawmakers crowded around Barna and toppled each other mere feet away from him. The whole incident was caught on video.

Barna is collecting signatures to draft a resolution of no-confidence in the government and ask for Yatsenyuk's resignation, according to the Associated Press. Local media outlet Interfax-Ukraine reported that the lawmaker has been stripped of the right to attend the next five parliamentary sessions.

The head of Barna's party apologized for the incident, saying the parliament member had behaved outrageously.

Yatsenyuk said he was ready to step down if the Ukrainian parliament votes for his dismissal.

"You have all constitutional powers to raise the question of the dismissal of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, raise it and vote. I will accept the decision of the Ukrainian parliament, I am not holding on to this post," Yatseniuk told a government meeting in the parliament on Friday, according to the Kyviv Post.

This is not the first scuffle to have broken out in the Ukrainian parliament. There were at least two last year amid tensions and protests that led to the removal of former President Viktor Yanukovich, the separation of the southeast region of Crimea, and ongoing separatists attempts in the east of the country.

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