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Brawl as Ukrainian lawmaker hoists Prime Minister Yatseniuk from podium

Fighting has broken out in the Ukrainian parliament, after a perturbed lawmaker physically picked up Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk as he was giving a speech, lifting him from the podium. A mass brawl ensued.

Watch video 01:19

Fighting breaks out in Ukrainian parliament

There were rowdy scenes in the Ukrainian parliament after Yatseniuk was pulled from the podium and hoisted into the air by a political opponent.

The premier had been defending his government's record when lawmaker Oleh Barna approached him, presenting him with a bunch of red roses.

Yatseniuk went along with the apparently sarcastic gesture before Barna pulled him away from the platform, lifting him into the air by his waist and groin. Members of Yatseniuk's People's Front intervened and forced Barna to put down the prime minister, who was still clutching the flowers.

A full-scale brawl followed as members of Poroshenko's joined the fray, with lawmakers from both sides jostling one another furiously. The unrest had continued for several minutes before the deputies returned to their seats.

The incident was symptomatic of deep rifts within the pro-European coalition that arose after the downfall of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich in February 2014. However, the separate parties of president and premier have become increasingly split.

Yatseniuk is increasingly under pressure

as the ruling coalition struggles to deal with

an economic crisis

and

conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The outbreak of violence had interrupted a question and answer session with Yatseniuk after he delivered a summary of his government's appointment.

"I told you a year ago that nobody is going to promise the moon," Yatseniuk had said, appearing to defend his cabinet from accusations they had not delivered on promises of reforms.

Debt-ridden Ukraine's Western backers have

warned that the country must quickly address its promises

to deal with endemic corruption and favoritism.

rc/jil (AP, Reuters)

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