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Ukrainian Deputy Attacks Yatsenyuk As Brawl Breaks Out In Parliament

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

A fight broke out among deputies belonging to Ukraine's ruling coalition after a lawmaker tried to remove Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk from the podium as he spoke to parliament.

Yatsenyuk was defending his government's record when lawmaker Oleh Barna -- a member of President Petro Poroshenko's political party -- tried to give the prime minister a bouquet of roses.

He then grabbed Yatsenyuk around the waist and lifted him up before other deputies came and forced Barna to release him.

Several lawmakers then scuffled with each other and threw some punches for several minutes before order was restored.

Support for Yatsenyuk has fallen dramatically in the past year as his government has passed austerity measures and other economic reforms.

Yatseniuk, 41, took office exactly one year ago in an agreement that gave his government immunity from being sacked.

He told lawmakers he would not "cling to his chair" as prime minister and would accept a parliament vote to dismiss him if that was the result of a confidence vote.

Ukraine must still pass laws on critical tax and budget bills as well as on judicial issues in order to receive some $4 billion in international loans.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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